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Notice 



Before and while completing the research contained in this book, both my 
family and I received death threats. Out of fear, I had chosen the pseudonym "John 
Jacob" at the time. I have since decided to both go public and publish in my own 
name, Eric Scheibeler. The text is being updated to reflect his now. 

This text is the original and contains the family pseudonym "John Jacob" and 
this note is included to explain these references. 



Your Help Is Needed 

First, save all of your books, tapes, CDs and literature purchased through your upline's tools resources. 

Secondly if you are a distributor or have been one, your testimonial could be very helpful. Please send the 

amount of your net income/loss along with details of representations that were made to you to: 

enschei@yahoo.com 

You May Also Fax testimonials to 570-227-0060. 

These testimonials will not be made public and will only be shared with regulators, consumer advocates 

and government investigators. Putting up this site and releasing the book Merchants of Deception globally 

for free is something that I have morally compelled to do. I am however, not naive, and am aware that by 

taking these actions I am literally stepping in front of a bus. 
Someone had to or it would never have stopped. 

Legal Defense Needed 

From what you have learned upon reading this site, you probably have a good idea what is going to happen 

to me for exposing this global fraud. At the very least, a good number of attorneys are to immediately 

descend upon me from Amway and its Kingpin distributors. 

All of their actions will be made public. Despite this, I will need some of the best legal counsel in the 

country. If you can refer a very large firm that would have an interest in a high profile free speech 

case/defense, please contact me immediately at enschei@yahoo.com. 

It appears that Amway's Arbitration agreement and gag order were forced upon all of us to simply aid the 
perpetration of known fraud and is therefore invalid. I will be silenced only when the public is safe. 



Support Needed 

If you would like to make a donation to support me in my legal defense and 
efforts to bring about regulatory justice, it would be very much appreciated. 

You can do so by going to: 

http://www.paypal.com 

to use Paypal's ultra-secure servers to send monetary funds, even if you do 

not have a Paypal account. 
My account for donations is my email address: 

enschei@yahoo.com 




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People's Perceptions of . . . 

Merchants of Deception 



"Mr. Jacob's book is a chilling portrayal of the process by which intelligent people can 
persist for years in pursuing the Amway dream while making no money. It is all the 
more significant because he earned his way to one of the highest distributor levels in the 
Company. He understands the subtle methods used to keep distributors reaching for the 
brass ring even in the face of dismal earnings and how they are prevented from learning 
from each other that many, if not most, are in the same boat. 

Jacob describes the mental conditioning that diminished his ability to make critical 
judgments in the face of overwhelming factual evidence and his guilt about not attending 
meetings even after he had decided to leave the company. I learned of similar experiences 
from ex-distributors when I interviewed them for the State of Wisconsin's Amway 
litigation in the early 80's. Such conditioning may explain why the tax returns (obtained 
for this litigation) of all active Wisconsin Direct Distributors, the company's top 1%, 
showed an average net income of minus $900. Why did these men and women persist in 
earning their way to Direct Distributor status under these economic circumstances? 
John Jacob's book answers this question for those whose minds are clear enough to read 
its pages." 

- BRUCE A. CRAIG, retired Assistant Attorney General, 

Wisconsin Department of Justice - Office of Consumer Protection. 

(This statement is my own and not that of the State of Wisconsin) 



"They have diamonds, limousines and mansions. John Jacob has a book. With cash 
contributions to politicians they seek to influence regulatory agencies, state laws and 
national trade policies. In telling his story, John Jacob asks for legality, honesty and full 
disclosure. They pay ex-presidents of the United States, famous televangelists and 
motivation speakers to prop up their image. John Jacob stands on his own and speaks 
for himself. And they have a raucous army of followers, dingers and defenders who sing 
and shout their praise. John Jacob gives voice to millions more who are silenced by 
deception, manipulation, fear and shame. With such odds arrayed, Amway and its 
related motivational organizations are no match for the thunderous truth of John Jacob's 
expose." 

- ROBERT L. FITZPATRICK 



Author of False Profits: Seeking financial and Spiritual deliverance in 
Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes 



"John Jacob's new book, Merchants of Deception is a must read! It reveals the inner 
workings of one of the largest privately held companies in the world, whose distributor 
force has used deceit and mind control techniques to ensnare millions of people around 
the world. Cult mind control techniques are not only used in religious groups - they 
have entered the world of business - and everyone must become aware of it, or risk the 
consequences. John Jacob has shown in this book, how intelligent, educated mainstream 
citizens can be seduced and controlled. After his years of committed leadership with 
Amway, he experienced most of the characteristic psychological problems people have 
after walking away from a cult. As a licensed mental health counselor, I can say that I 
am convinced that there is a cult mind control problem with the Amway Motivational 
organization's system. I have been counseling people with cult mind control problems 
for over twenty years, and John Jacob's problems fit the classic profile. I am so pleased 
to see that he has worked hard on his recovery and that he is so dedicated to share his 
experience and knowledge. He is courageous and I heartily applaud the release of this 
important, new book." 

- STEVEN HASSAN M. ED, LMHC 

President of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center www.freedomofmind.com 

Author of Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for 
Themselves 



"Misconceptions abound about people who join groups— but Amway? Why, this group 
is main stream, these are people just like us— wanting a better life, sacrificing family-time 
to make just a little more money. From Jonestown to Heaven's Gate we have found 
comfort in believing, 'Those folks are a bunch of nuts— Thank God I'm not like them!' 

John Jacob's chilling portrayal of life inside a professed money making machine will 
convince anyone who ever said, 'That could never happen to me', to think again— It can 
happen to the best of us." 

- DEBORAH LAYTON 

Author of Seductive Poison, A Jonestown Survivors Story of Life and Death 
in the Peoples Temple. 



"John Jacob was an Emerald in the Amway business, well on his way to Diamond. In 
Merchants of Deception, he has drawn a brutally honest picture of high-level 
achievement in a large Amway Motivational Organization (AMO). He describes vividly: 

• the poverty-level lifestyle he lived as a 'successful' Emerald 

• his gradual descent into mindless loyalty and obedience to the all-powerful upline 

• the enormous inconsistencies between the promises and the reality 

• the demands on him and his organization to pour money into the system that was 
secretly making their 'leader' wealthy beyond the bounds of avarice 

• his huge financial, spiritual, and relationship losses, and those of the people in his 
group 

• and the nightmare of emerging from the deceptions and mind control. 

After working as many as 100 hours or more per week for nearly ten years in his quest 
for a lifestyle of freedom to enjoy his family, and achieving a level that fewer than 1/1 0th 
of 1% of all distributors ever achieve, Jacob's life began to unravel. Desperately clinging 
to the hope that what he wanted to believe about 'The Business' and 'the upline' was 
true, in the face of mounting evidence of lies and deceit, Jacobs suffered through months 
where he was nearly catatonic as the internal and external battles raged. Through the 
black pall of deep depression, enormous financial losses — including bankruptcy and 
imminent home foreclosure — through the demoralizing realization that the 100+ hours of 
work per week he had poured into 'The Business' had only served to take him away 
from what was important to him, and through a serious death threat, Jacob emerges 
victorious. 

Is he wealthy? Not by a long shot. It will take years to overcome the financial and 
emotional depredations of the fraud he was lured into. But he has his self-respect, his 
sanity, his faith and his family back. 

While there have been other books which exposed the AMO's deceptions and lies, and 
discussed the cultic mind-control techniques used to entice prospects and keep them 
pouring money into their uplines' pockets, none has the raw, emotional power of this 
personal account of one man's descent into the AMO hell and back again." 

- RUTH CARTER 

Author of Amway Motivational Organizations: Behind the Smoke and 
Mirrors 



"After 4 years of 'business building' and not even making 2500 in volume, our family was 
breaking apart and we were near bankruptcy when I said I'd had enough. Our children 
were suffering while we put their needs on hold until we 'got free.' A few months after I 



quit the Amway business my wife filed for divorce because I had suddenly become a 
'dream stealer' and a 'loser.' This book chronicles exactly how the Amway 
Motivational Organizations expertly use psychological, emotional and financial 
deception to, at all costs, increase their secretive income source. My family and finances 
are but one of the many casualties. This book is a gripping, well-documented white 
knuckle express to the darkest depths of deception and betrayal." 

- ASH LEY WI LKES, photographer/filmmaker 



'Merchants of Deception by John Jacob is the engrossing account of the author's 
recruitment into a cult, his rapid advancement as a recruiter of others, his awakening after 
many years of mind-dulling dedication to the cult ideology, his disconnection and 
deepening disillusionment, and his progressively strengthening personal resolve that 
what happened to him will not happen to others. The author could have entered into an 
easy and lucrative settlement with the cult gatekeeper (Amway) that would have sealed 
his lips and sealed the fate of many, many others. But he didn't. The resulting book is a 
modern story of awakening to the existence of an elaborate evil, and searching for one's 
own redemption. 

The untimely and mysterious death of my son was the beginning of my own discovery 
of the evil that cults perpetrate. The story of Noah's death in Time : 'Scientology, the 
Cult of Greed,' May 6, 1991, and Readers Digest : 'A Dangerous Cult Goes 
Mainstream,' October 1991, resulted in an extensive public awakening. Americans, 
however, still have a great deal to learn about the manipulative and destructive 
organizations that riddle and subvert our society. John Jacob's book is an important 
testimony and will help make the world a better and safer place as it advances each 
reader's understanding." 

- EDWARD A. LOTTICK, M.D. 



"In Merchants of Deception, John Jacob does a chilling study of how a destructive cult 
can subtly, yet completely, take over one's life and reshape one's thoughts however the 
leadership of the cult wishes. Though I was never a member of the Amway 
Motivational Organizations, I was a member of a destructive cult for six years, and all of 
the exploitations that John describes in Amway's MO also apply to me. The financial 
exploitation, the powerlessness before the leadership, the reforming of one's thoughts so 
that the group and its goals became the focus of one's life — all were present in my 
experience, and the experiences of thousands of people who have had their lives taken up 
by one of these destructive groups. John goes through very explicitly how anyone, 
given the right circumstances, can be taken in, and I highly recommend his book for those 



interested not only in the practices of Amway's Motivational Organizations, but in 
those of all destructive cults and who want to learn how to protect themselves and their 
loved ones. 

- NICK DICIACCIO 



'As a mental health professional who works with people in cults and an ex-cult member 
myself (6 years in Scientology), I have to say that John Jacobs has done a masterful job 
at illustrating, in this compelling book, how certain business groups can have the very 
same cultic dynamics as the more well-known religious cults. This book is a page-turner. 
John Jacob tells the story of his experience within the Amway ranks, from his earliest 
recruitment, to his decision to leave the organization and the emotionally and financially 
devastating aftermath. This is an account I have heard many times before from ex-cult 
members. This could just as easily been the story of any ex-member of any well-known 
cult, since the dynamics were the same. In the organization I was a member of, there 
was information that people were not told about, until they were both very emotionally 
and financially committed to the group. 

Controversial information was given only very gradually and people were told 
acceptable truths. Had I known this information from the start, I never would have 
gotten involved. The same holds true for John Jacob's experience within the Amway 
Motivational Organization. In my group, we were encouraged to perfectly 'duplicate' 
the material that came from our leader. No creativity or originality was allowed. Ditto 
for the Amway group, who even used the exact same term that we did (duplication). 
People who left the organization were considered to be miserable, degraded, losers who 
had committed crimes against the group. Members were made to fear leaving the group, 
which was seen, in our distorted, indoctrinated state of mind, to be tantamount to 
complete personal destruction. Once again, we see this pattern throughout John Jacob's 
experience. The aftermath of the emotional traumatization ex-cult members go through 
after leaving is also the same. If anyone thinks that cults have to necessarily be religious 
in nature, they need to read this book, which solidly proves otherwise. I highly 
recommend that anyone who's life has been touched by the cultic experience, read this 
book, whether it be the professional, the ex-cult member, or a family member with a 
loved one involved in a cult." 

- MONICA PIGNOTTI, MSW, CSW, ex-Scientologist 



In the first half of the 20 th century someone wrote that: "The broad mass of people falls 
victim to a big lie more easily than a small one", someone else that: "Work will set you 
free". In the second half of the 20 th century the instigators of the so-called "American 
Way Association''' (a.k.a. "the Amway Corporation"), Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel, 
have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars by following the first of these maxims and 
by promoting the second as "the supreme truth". At the start of the 21 st century their 
victims number tens of millions in 80 countries internationally; my own brother is one of 
them in England. However, it is generally accepted that, to lie to people in order to get 
their money, is fraud, which is a form of theft. A former US Marine, John Jacob, was a 
victim of the Amway lie. He was deceived into working hard in pursuit of a cruel illusion 
for almost ten years of his adult life; what he lost was far more precious than his 
money — his human dignity. John Jacob' book is not just an insider's description of the 
occult system, which DeVos and Van Andel have baptised "multi level marketing", but an 
important social document bearing witness to the most dangerous phenomenon facing 
humanity-ritual belief instigated for the purpose of human exploitation (a.k.a. destructive 
cultism). As a result of his discovering free information published on the Internet, which 
the criminal controllers of Amway had tried to suppress, John Jacob was finally able to 
break the chains, and escape from his psychological prison. As you will discover when 
you read this book, his ordeal did not end there. He could have run away, but he took the 
conscious decision to stand his ground and fight against this evil. I salute his courage! By 
the way, the first of the above maxims was published in 1925, in Adolf Hitler's "Mein 
Kamf\ the second remains painted above the gates of Aushwitz. 



- DAVID A. BREAR 

Author of 'Amway" The American Dream Made Nightmare (France) 



As one who has spent years researching and writing books and developing analytical tools 
for assessing the harm from network marketing programs, I am frustrated with the 
difficulties in getting regulators and consumers to look at the impossible math of all types 
of product-based pyramid schemes. The math and legal issues are enough to condemn 
highly leveraged breakaway compensation programs such as Amway' s. But Mr. Jacobs 
reveals a dimension with Amway that sets it apart in a class of its own - the extreme 
cultism that has grown up within its ranks. Based on Jacobs story, and my own 
background in psychology, I have to say that the psychological and social damage 
suffered by many Amway participants is far greater than any of us had imagined. 

Amway would have you believe that failure to make money in their program is due to 
lack of skill or effort on the part of participants. Jacobs paints an interesting picture of 



Amway dreamers subscribing to a continuing stream of sales tools and training to help 
them be successful at doing the business. What is comical here, is that almost no one in 
the program stops to ask whether their financial losses might be due to a fraudulent 
system, rather than to their own inadequacies. Jacobs was one of the few who finally 
came to realize that failure to profit as promised had far more to do with Amway than 
with the distributor. He is like the child in the fable who shouted, "The emperor has no 
clothes." 

Jacobs and I both see cognitive dissonance as an appropriate explanation for the disparity 
between the belief systems or better judgment of participants - and their deceptive 
behavior. In order to succeed at Amway, one must first be deceived, then maintain a high 
level of deception (with the assistance of cultish control mechanisms), and finally go 
about deceiving others. Jacobs story is a chilling portrayal of just how true that is. The 
book is a great read, one I could not put down until it was finished. 

Jacobs has it right now, and is doing penance by telling his story with 
candor and courage. 

-Jon M. Taylor, Ph.D. 

President, Consumer Awareness Institute and Director, Pyramid Scheme Alert, 
Researcher and author of "Product Based Pyramid Schemes" 



A captivating story which speaks directly to the human heart. John Jacob has 
provided a well-documented, quite readable accounting of the pure seduction of the most 
subtle, and therefore most dangerous, manifestation of evil - that which cloaks itself in 
the name and teachings of Jesus Christ. However, the actions of the antagonists in this 
story belie the hearts and minds that could not be further from the truth. These are 
people, I believe, whom our Lord addresses in the 25 th chapter of Mathew with those 
telling words: "Depart from me - 1 never knew you." 

I am a busy professional with absolutely no "free time" - yet I found the time to 
read this book and I trust you'll find yourself doing the same. 

- Joseph DeMay, M.D., F.A.A.P. 



Far too often Evangelical Christians have remained silent or ignorant when it comes to 
abuses within its own ranks. Little is said about abusive pastors, or cultic churches. Even 



less is said about helping victims of cults or spiritual abuse. Such things rarely come up 
on anyone's missions committees, or any committees as a worthy cause. It would be 
unheard to even dream that the great Christian businessman such as Rich DeVos may be a 
wolf in sheep's clothing. Yet that is exactly what Jacob's contends. His experience in 
Amway is compelling evidence that Amway is abusive. 

John P. Jacob's Merchant's of Deception masterfully and prophetically exposes this 
system of serious abuses in Amway and Quixtar. Jacob spells out a modern day tragedy- 
the promise of financial success, the subtle conditioning to achieve such success, the 
inability to gain the wealth promised, the ensuing blame and guilt management lays on 
distributors for not making it, and then the incredible high cost to achieve the false 
promise (i.e., 100 hr. workweeks, exhaustion, financial ruin, depression, etc.) 
Concurrently, Jacob gradually realized that Amway and all its related enterprises was a 
program of lies, deceit, false promises, moral blackmail, and possible criminality at the 
top levels. 

For John Jacob, possession of this truth was dangerous, it was possible life threatening. 
In sum, John Jacob in Merchants of Deception was a victim of a type of social influence 
that I have commonly seen over the last 17 years in my full time practice with victims of 
destructive cults. 

In spite of several serious reports of death threats John Jacob refused to be silenced. 

Typically, the church unknowingly reveres the abuser and discredits the victims. Yet the 
mission of the church is the opposite. It's mission is to silence the "Wolf and mend the 
"Sheep." not silence the 'Sheep" and feed the "Wolf. In Jacob's case Christian publishers 
nearly succeeded in silencing the sheep by refusing to publish his book! ! ! 

Jacob's Merchants of Deception should serve as a wake up call to those is the church who 
are unwittingly feeding the wolves! ! His book is a must read. It is a call to action. 

Paul R. Martin, Ph.D. 

Psychologist and Director 

Wellspring Retreat 

A Rehabilitation and Retreat Center 

for those recovering from spiritual abuse 

and cultic affiliation 



Acknowledgements 



There is very small group of family and friends who stood by us when all others 
ran away. Thank you for helping Kathy and I pull our lives together to the point where 
we could start again. We had turned our backs on some of you. We recruited others of 
you into the Amway business, where you may have lost thousands of dollars and precious 
years. You were the ones who fed us when we had no money for food. You picked us up 
and encouraged us when we thought we could not go on. Our parents accepted us back 
and loved and cared for us in every way possible when we awoke and left our Amway 
life. For this, we will be forever, deeply thankful. 

In our terrifying exodus from Amway and its related motivational cults, we have 
seen the very worst in human nature. We have experienced an evil, a deception, and a 
darkness that we did not know existed in mankind. During this period, we were also 
exposed to the very best in human nature as well. God revealed himself and his boundless 
love through the kindness and compassion of people we had been indoctrinated to believe 
were "losers." Their kindness, love and forgiveness have been overwhelming. 

The truth would never have been revealed to us had it not been for a few modern 
day heroes, who braved bewildering odds and potential legal attacks to expose what they 
had learned to be true about the Amway Corporation; it's founders and related 
motivational organizations and cults, in general. Specifically, Ashley Wilkes, Sidney 
Schwartz, Steve Hassan, Robert Fitzpatrick, Deborah Layton, J. B. Meade, Scott Larsen 
and Ruth Carter all, in some way, helped me escape a life of complete deception. 

It was at a desperate time and at a point when I did not know if I would be able to 
write this book that I spent a single life-altering day in Colorado. I spent time with an 
incredible group of leaders. One at a time people I met with Pastor Tommy Reid all 
spoke into my life truths that I desperately needed to hear. I would like to thank T.D. 
Jakes and Anthony Robbins for creating resources that assisted me in rebuilding my 
strength to a level where I could begin to function, think rationally and take action. A 
special thanks to Oprah and Dr. Phil for creating making public resources that helped 
salvage my now most cherished treasure, my marriage. You are all greatly appreciated. 

Last and certainly not least, I would like to thank two incredible women. 
Maureen Haner and Nancy Lambert are two special friends. Together, they have been a 
boundless source of encouragement and inspiration. They worked countless hours at 
night and weekends to edit my ramblings into the book you now hold in your hands. It 
would not have been possible without them. Their insights, determination to help others 
and gifted editorial work have made this book what it is. 



Dedication 



This book is dedicated to my wife Kathy and our children, Josh, Ashley and 
McKenzie. Kathy, you are the strongest, most loving, kind person that I have ever 
known. Nearly all that I know about Love and what is truly important in life I have 
learned from you. For far too long, you raised our children as a single parent, and for this, 
I will be forever grateful. You stood by me and nursed me back to health from a point 
where I did not think that I could go on. Despite all odds and adversity, you took care of 
our family. You are, and forever will be, the woman of my dreams. Josh, you have your 
mother's love and compassion for others. Ashley, your hugs and kisses still make my day 
bright. McKenzie, your persistence and boundless energy make you someone very 
special to the whole family. I Love you all more than life itself. I thank God for allowing 
me to be part of your lives. This book is dedicated to you, the most wonderful people on 
earth. 



Table of Contents 



Purpose 1 

Chapter 1. Theft by Deception 7 

Chapter 2. Seeing Is Believing 21 

Chapter 3. Fully Committed 43 

Chapter 4. Big Wheels Kept on Turning 54 

Chapter 5. Going for Broke 66 

Chapter 6. The Dawning of aNew Day 81 

Chapter 7. 1 Think I Can! I Think I Can 100 

Chapter 8. Invasion from Above 117 

Chapter 9. Strife Within and Without 132 

Chapter 10. The Walls Come a'Tumblin' Down 152 

Chapter 11. Dream Makers and Heart Breakers 173 

Chapter 12. The Turning Tide 190 

Chapter 13. Rich DeVos Knew All Along 206 

Chapter 14. The War of the Roses 238 

Chapter 15. The Truth Will Set You Free 243 

Chapter 16. It's a Small World After All 259 

Chapter 17. Club Fed 284 



Purpose 



Despite your initial thoughts, this book is not an assault on Amway distributors. 
The purpose is, rather, to stop the incredibly, well-orchestrated harm that is being done to 
them. You see I, myself, was a high-level Amway distributor who devoted nearly a 
decade to building a global business. 

Throughout this book, you will know me as John Jacob, not my real name. You 
see, entering Amway was the easy part. Leaving it, after achieving such a high level, has 
been an entirely different story. The secrets I discovered resulted in a threat on my life 
and unspeakable slanders being circulated about my family. But I cannot keep silent. I 
feel compelled to share what really happened to me, so that other innocent people will not 
be led to financial slaughter and personal destruction. 

My wife and I were first introduced to "The Business," as Amway distributors are 
taught to refer to the corporation, on November 15, 1989, and we got off to a relatively 
fast start as new distributors. We moved quickly through the ranks and went "Silver 
Direct" in our first year. During the next ten years, we devoted all our energies and 
resources to The Business, resulting in our moving on to "Emerald," a level achieved by 
only a small fraction of one percent of distributors in any year in North America. We 
recruited and sponsored literally thousands into our Amway business. With this 
background, you can see that I am not a spectator, an outsider, or someone who just gave 
it a quick try and now has an axe to grind. 

I am a former Federal Auditor who, upon first seeing this business, evaluated it on 
the basis of logic, not emotion. Based on what I was told, shown and observed, it looked 
very good; the great hopes and dreams my wife and I had for our family and future 
seemed about to be realized, as we began to work on building our business. We 
sponsored large numbers of people into The Business and went from being attendees at 
seminars to being the only speakers at some of these daylong functions. It was not easy 
for two relatively shy people; neither of us had done much of any public speaking before. 
Nevertheless, in a few years we were onstage speaking to thousands. Our "upline" 
(people above our level in The Business and ones who had directly recruited us) even 
flew us to Argentina to speak to an organization there. I traveled through Japan to the 
Philippines and worked in many cities there expanding our business. The Amway 
business that Kathy and I developed, our organization, also expanded into Europe and 
South America. 

My wife and I went from listening to motivational tapes every day to having tapes 
of our own seminars marketed internationally. In a few years, under my upline 
"Diamond's" guidance, I left my corporate career and had a "retirement" party at the age 
of thirty. The American dream seemed to be very much alive; not only for us but also for 
the friends we were going to lead into the Promised Land. 

We continued to build our business and were given more and more 
responsibilities by our upline "Diamond." I attended the secretive, invitation-only, Yager 
Network Marketing Institute (YNMI) that provided specialized training for rising "top 
guns." I was also given the opportunity to run much of the backstage coordination of 



speakers and hosts at the many motivational "Dream Weekends" and "Family Reunions." 
These are two of the largest seminars a year in Amway with thousands in attendance. The 
Amway business Kathy and I developed grew so large that by the January 1999 Dream 
Weekend, our group alone represented almost exactly 10% of those in attendance. 

Working the backstage is considered a dream assignment for anyone in The 
Business. What a thrill for a regular couple like us to meet motivational guest speakers 
and personalities, such as Oliver North, Dave Thomas, Robert Schuller, Zig Ziglar, Glenn 
Campbell, Roy Clark and others. Not only that, but the backstage job also afforded me 
the opportunity to meet many of our personal heroes, the Amway Diamonds. ("Diamond" 
is an award level given by Amway to signify a very high level of success in the Amway 
business.) We were captivated by the quality of life they described. Many referred to the 
"Diamond lifestyle" as affording them six Saturdays and a Sunday, unlimited family time, 
and residual income to help others. These rewards were a source of great motivation to 
Kathy and me, as our faith and our family have always been of primary importance to us. 

We learned that there was a very specific pattern or system for success in the 
Amway business. As a matter of fact, within it, we were told there was a "100% success 
rate and outside of it a 0% success rate." My sponsor and the rest of my upline referred 
to this system for success continually. It involved the ongoing weekly purchase of 
cassette tapes, books for daily reading, videos, CD-ROMs, tickets for the monthly 
seminars and frequent training sessions. (What we didn't realize until much later is that, 
in essence, this system of success was little more than a gradual and unrelenting 
indoctrination.) We heard a college professor, who also happened to be a direct 
distributor; declare that this was the greatest educational system he had ever found. 
Almost all of the millionaire and multi-millionaire distributors praised this all-inclusive 
system as the most important resource they used in becoming wealthy in their Amway 
business. It's hard to argue with results. There were hundreds who spoke of becoming 
wealthy in Amway by means of the same system. 

Many prominent speakers outside of the Amway business would make similar 
representations. Respected author and lecturer Shad Helmstetter was brought in to speak 
to thousands of distributors. This is the endorsement he gave of both "the system and "the 
business": 

"/ have traveled around the world. I have met, gotten to know, 
interviewed, and followed up on year after year distributors from every 
level in the business. I have watched the system that you have. It is a 
system second to none. Don't ever try to change it. They've got it right. 
Stay with it. I believe in the business because the business works. 

He also took out advertisements in USA Today to promote his independent 
findings on the success of the Amway business and its distributors. The first letter of this 
nature read as follows: 

An American Victory - Letter #1 

(Wednesday, May 29th, 1996) 

A Special "Thank You " 



To All Amway Distributors and Friends 

After a long and careful evaluation of who you are, what you do, and 
why you are successful, there are some things you should know about 
YOU, as an Amway Distributor. 

First off, you made a good choice! You are a member of one of the 
finest, most positive, and worthwhile organizations in the world today. 
You represent free enterprise at its greatest, and personal growth at its 
best. 

You are at the heart of what is right about America. You recognize 
the values of faith, home and family, good goals and honest work — and 
you make those values an essential part of your business and your life. 

You lift people up. You build the healthiest kind of self-esteem in 
yourself and in others. You care about people. You give them hope, and a 
future, and freedom. Because of Amway, and the important work you do 
in your business, you are helping more people than you will ever know. 

You are not only building a business, you are creating a better 
life — for yourself, for your family, and for the rest of the world around 
you. You and your organization are helping bring this country back to the 
roots of its greatness . . . and you are taking that message of freedom and 
greatness with you wherever you go. 

You have the leadership and guidance that comes from the highest 
levels of character. Your success is founded on decades of experience of 
quality people, working together to make your business second to none. 

You have the right tools, the right plan, and the right attitude. If you 
are presently an independent Amway Distributor, you are in the right 
place. Stay with it. (If you have not yet become a part of this exceptional 
group of people, you should.) Whether you are just getting started, or you 
are experienced in the business, one thing is clear: the best is yet to come! 

There are many fine people everywhere who join me in thanking you 
and recognizing you for the great job you're doing. Never forget: 

"There may be no greater service you can perform — for the 
betterment of your life, your family, your community, your country, and 
for the betterment of mankind — than to be a positive, active member of 
the Amway organization." 

You should be proud of the team you're on. Yours truly is an 
American Victory. God bless you, and keep doing it! 



Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D." 

Many, like Mr. Helmstetter, would come in and speak of the virtues of our upline 
leaders as well. Our new leaders seemed to be people of unquestioned principle, 
speaking often about faith, character, courage, and integrity. The many Diamonds that 
were brought to inspire us affirmed that the leaders we were working with (almost always 
a husband and wife team) set the standard in the area of values. These couples were bold 
in proclaiming their faith and patriotism and also in practicing what seemed then like 
unparalleled generosity. The reason they were so successful, we were told, was due to 
their having helped many, many others succeed financially. We were reminded that the 
same practice of helping others would become the measure of our success. 

The Diamond-level distributors became real-life heroes not only to us, but to our 
children as well. I studied and emulated their every move and mannerism. What a 
fulfilling life we were going to lead by helping so many of the people we loved! Our 
group, indeed, was more like a family to us than friends or business partners. We had 
little time for any relationships outside of Amway; consequently, our children referred to 
members of our new Amway family as "aunt" or "uncle" so-and-so. This is an Amway 
pattern, such that there are distributors who have affectionately named their pets, and in 
some instances their children, after members of their upline. 

After achieving the level of Emerald, we spent more and more time around many 
very wealthy distributors and even had some personal time with billionaire Amway 
founder Rich DeVos. It was this increased contact with high-level distributors, from 
Diamond through Crown Ambassador, that finally permitted a chance event of fate to 
lead us to some terribly disturbing discoveries. These inadvertent discoveries eventually 
led to an agonizing exodus from "our" business, my becoming a federal witness and the 
actual publication of this book. The carefully guarded secrets I discovered, and am about 
to share with you, became a nightmare that plagued our every waking moment, an evil 
monster that ate at the fabric of our carefully structured lives like a swiftly moving 
cancer. 

I was horrified to discover and later document that the Amway business is used in 
a "bait and switch" fraud of global proportions. As much as 94% of some Diamonds' 
income is derived not from Amway but from another, secretive, source altogether. As a 
result of this, nearly all of the thousands of people we brought into the Amway business 
lost money. Some lost tens of thousands of dollars. We were unknowingly used to extract 
millions of dollars of good people's hard-earned money for our upline Diamonds' covert 
business. Amway's owners and management have known of this deception for twenty 
years and have failed to stop it. Looking the other way has made them wealthy beyond 
belief. 

Before we entered The Business, I figured the only danger was that I might waste 
a few weekends and lose a couple hundred dollars of our savings trying to move product 
that wouldn't sell. After ten years in The Business, I realized the danger had unbelievably 
escalated to not only the worst kind of slimy character assassination, but also having my 
life threatened. 

I am going to share with you the reaction of our leaders, upline Double Diamond, 
and fellow Amway distributors as we revealed the truth. The people we had admired and 



loved worked insidiously to undermine our position in the community. Our horrifying 
escape from building "our" Amway business, its related "support" system, and our upline 
may literally keep you awake at night. The unnamed symbiotic relationship between 
Amway and its related Motivational Organizations has unimaginable psychological and 
financial control over many of its distributors. In fact, the enormous motivational 
organization, that I was a part of, is a cult (using the very definition of such provided to 
Amway distributors on tape and at a seminar). This cult exercises control and 
manipulation over distributors beyond your imagination. We got started in this venture to 
experience the freedom of owning our own business and setting our own income in, what 
was described to us as, the purest form of free enterprise. 

You may be thinking, "Come on now, Amway is just a harmless soap business, 
right?" My friend, I wish this were true. However, it is not. We have been advised 
repeatedly that we could "sell our business." Included in that sale would most likely be a 
half-inch thick secrecy or confidentiality agreement. My silence is not for sale at any 
price. I was used as a dupe to swindle so many people that I cannot be silent and live with 
myself. Already, I have lost almost every friend I have ever had, been bankrupted, and 
forced to the brink of foreclosure since speaking, on a small scale, of what I know to be 
the truth. It is a strange irony that those I loved the most now see me as the enemy. Many 
of my closest friends have participated effectively in our character assassination. Some 
pray for us, believing that Satan is using us to do a great evil. 

Publishing this book is against the advice of almost all who care about me, but it 
is one of several actions I am taking to stop the harm being done to so many families 
around the world who are unconsciously buying into a cult. 

This book may also serve as a guide to help many families who do not understand 
the seemingly bizarre actions and motivations of loved ones in Amway/Quixtar. This is 
not written out of a spirit of anger or retribution. I pity the people who took great liberties 
with our trust and used us as unwitting dupes to extract millions from the people we love 
most. One day, these cult-like leaders will have to face themselves in the mirror. 

If this book helps you or someone you love, I am one step closer to undoing the 
damage I did as a trusting Amway distributor. I am one step closer to being able to live in 
peace. 



"The difficulty is that a counterfeit initially looks so good 
and feels so good that one rarely suspects something is wrong. 
Only when the counterfeit is examined and compared with the 
real thing does the counterfeit become apparent. By then it's 
often too late..."** 

- John Ankerberg and John Weldon 

Note: The quotes and events in this book may not necessarily be given in 
exact chronological order but have been organized by topic. Also, I have 
tried to protect the people we were closest to in Amway by not using their 
real names. 



Ankerberg and Weldon, Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, Harvest House (Eugene, Oregon) 
1999, p. xviii. 
1 "Walters" Free Enterprise 1997 Highlights video tape 



CHAPTER 1 



Theft by Deception 



"Amway is one of the most effective marketing and 
distribution companies in the world. Motivation and concern 
for others set Amway people apart form the rest of the crowd. 
They know that if you can change one person's life for the 
better, you have helped a community and changed the 
world."' 

- Robert R. Holcomb, M.D., PhD. 



Our journey into the darkness began uneventfully. As a young, newly married 
couple, Kathy and I were very much in love and enjoyed spending as much time as we 
could together. I had a job as a Federal auditor, working for a branch of the Department 
of Energy. The position provided a good salary for a recent college graduate. It was a 
nice upgrade for me, after working in McDonald's, factories, and cafeterias for minimum 
wage for most of my life. 

I had moved out of my home my senior year of high school and understood, 
firsthand, what it was like to struggle. The struggles of life had overtaken my parents' 
marriage many years before. They each, in turn, found and re -married very special people 
and began new lives. I grew up living with my mother and stepfather. 

In terms of a home environment, we did not have much money. Too many of the 
decisions seemed to revolve around what we could afford, not what was the most 
important to us. Money seemed to be a master that controlled our most important 
decisions. My mother and stepfather were hardworking, honest people. Despite this, we 
always seemed to struggle. This had a profound effect upon the manner in which I 
viewed success. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to succeed and to be in a 
position to help the people that I loved. 

I landed my first real job at McDonald's. Working the grill was a great learning 
experience. Many other employees were just putting in their time, but I was learning how 
businesses worked. One night the owner came in, shook hands with the employees, and 
then left in a powder blue Jaguar. Most of the other employees mocked him for being the 
"rich guy," but I was excited. I had heard his story. He started as a waiter and then met 
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's. Ray took him under his wing and mentored him. 
It wasn't long before he owned several McDonald's restaurants. I just knew that if I 
worked hard enough, one day I would be like my boss. Perhaps he would be my mentor. 
Somehow, I knew that I, too, would become an entrepreneur. 

Although bored with school, I read constantly. The usual focus of my reading was 



' Robert R. Holcomb M.D., PhD., Vanderbilt University Amagram, May 1999 



about real-life, "rags-to-riches" stories. The Horatio Alger stories intrigued me. I had no 
interest in get-rich-quick schemes. My focus was on people that founded successful 
businesses on a shoestring, faith, and hard work. Because of this, I started a lawn 
maintenance service and soon had over 30 customers. Through this experience, I learned 
a lot about both the good and bad nature of people. Some were kind and encouraging, 
while others treated me like the "yard boy." 

I worked hard and finished high school. Soon after graduation, I was off to a large 
state college. For far too long, I majored in fun, and my grades reflected that. I was still 
searching for the right answers for my future. Then, because so many of my relatives had 
served in the U.S. military, I thought I should explore that avenue. I attended Marine 
Corps Officer Training Boot Camp at MCDEC (Marine Corps Development and 
Education Center) in Quantico, Virginia. 

This proved to be one of the best experiences of my life, in terms of giving me 
discipline. I graduated in the honor platoon and realized how much further I could push 
myself both physically and psychologically than I had previously thought. While my 
patriotism increased as a result of this time, I wanted a little more freedom in my choices 
than a military career, as an officer would afford me. Upon graduating from the training 
program, I took the option of declining my commission as a second lieutenant and was 
honorably discharged. 

Around this time, I decided to transfer to another University campus to get a fresh 
start. I didn't know any other students there, but that helped me to get focused on my 
studies and my future. My transfer was one of the single most important decisions of my 
life, because it was at the new campus that I met Kathy, the love of my life! Her quiet 
confidence and gentle nature made her different from any other woman I had ever met. 
Before long, when I wasn't with her, she was all that I could think about. She wasn't just 
special: She was, and still is, "the woman of my dreams." 

I met her parents for lunch one day, and they were just like the Waltons from the 
old family television show. They were kind and strong in a quiet way. They displayed the 
same warm, compassionate nature that had drawn me to Kathy. This was unusual, 
considering the fact that I was dating their beautiful twenty-year-old, only daughter. I 
now marvel at their openness. (As the father of two young daughters, I can't imagine 
having the same composure. I would be tempted to greet prospective boyfriends while 
wearing full camouflage with a Bowie knife in my teeth.... Fortunately, I have a several 
years to prepare myself for that encounter.) 

I graduated with a degree in business a year before Kathy and started my career 
with the Government as a Federal Auditor. It was exciting to begin traveling the country, 
as I worked within large corporations. My first audit took me to Jackson, Mississippi. It 
was a wonderful place, where I met many nice people, but there was something 
missing — a part of me was missing. I was scared to death of marriage and probably took 
a job in far away Mississippi to avoid the decision. This was a strange contradiction. I 
had met the woman of my dreams, but I was also terrified of the idea of commitment and 
loving her completely. It seemed that nothing good in my life had ever lasted; I was 
afraid to get my hopes up and put my heart on the line. 

There are a few moments in each of our lives in which we stand at life-changing 
crossroads. One of mine came on a warm spring night in Jackson. I lived in a beautiful 
apartment complex that had many elderly residents. Many were widows or widowers. I 



was walking my dog one evening and saw several elderly men and women out doing the 
same thing. We exchanged pleasantries and commented on the seasonal weather. I 
realized that they were very much alone. / was alone. Unless I did something different, I 
would become them. The only difference between us was the passing of time. 

I got on a plane and flew back across the country. I asked Kathy. . .okay, I begged 
her to marry me! Fortunately, she saw enough good qualities in me to take the chance. 
We drove straight to a mall to put a small down payment on an engagement ring. What a 
great day that was! We were married in August of 1986, honeymooned in Cancun, and 
returned to begin our married life at the next audit site in Miami. 

The nature of my job meant that I was assigned to one big city after another for 
months at a time. This got old quickly. Kathy and I longed to be back home near our 
families, and we wanted to put down some roots. Over all, I found the daily routine of 
auditing rather boring, but I did learn a great deal about documentation while employed 
in that field. Working with people really seemed to create more personal satisfaction for 
me than working with numbers and spreadsheets. So, I presented my boss with a two 
weeks notice. Once home, I landed an entry-level management position as an underwriter 
for a large insurance company. Fortunately, although this new job paid less than my 
auditing one, we experienced an increase in lifestyle. Kathy accepted a job with the same 
company, and we were able to spend a great deal of time together. Acquaintances 
commented that they couldn't hack that much time with their spouse, but we very much 
enjoyed taking breaks and lunches together. 

We bought our first home, and it was an incredible dump. Some homes are fixer 
uppers and some blower uppers; this one was right on the border. It was a dump, but it 
was our dump. We took great pride in working together to make it a nice place to live. 
Most of our friends shook their heads in disbelief when they first saw it, but with time 
and with a lot of "sweat equity," the house turned out great. It was a double home with 
three bedrooms on both sides. The biggest advantage was that the rent from the one side 
paid most of the mortgage. I studied real-estate seminars and used the equity in this 
property to buy several others. Finally, we were beginning to plan for our future. 

We spent a lot of time working on the home and met several couples that lived on 
our street. Some of our neighbors told us that that they had gotten into Amway through a 
mutual acquaintance. Privately, we thought this was a real joke. They had put pictures of 
Mercedes and enormous homes up on their refrigerator and spoke often of Zack Walters, 
this "Diamond Guy," who was going to help them get wealthy. I distinctly remember 
feeling that they spoke of him with an unnatural level of respect. It was as if they 
thought he were God-like. Our neighbors told us that our mutual friends, Kerry and 
Chris, had "gone Direct," whatever that meant. Because I supervised a woman at work 
who had told me she was in Amway, I mentioned to her that Kathy had some friends who 
had "gone Direct." She informed me that they must be making at least $25,000 a year and 
probably that was just through working part time. That figure was equal to my full-time 
salary at that point. I still remember thinking that I would NOT go and sell soap, even for 
that much extra money! I was too busy building a mini real-estate empire to be bothered 
with door-to-door sales of soap. 

One day, Kerry and Chris, the couple that had "gone Direct" in Amway, called us, 
because their printer had stopped working. They knew I was handy with computers and 



Not their real names 



10 



asked if I would come look at it. We went over and I tinkered with it for a while and then 
gave it the last rites. Soon, the four of us were sitting around their dining room table. 
They were very engaging and wanted to know more about us and how our properties 
were doing. They asked so many questions about us that, out of politeness, I asked them 
how their Amway business was doing. They seemed almost to cringe at the mention of 
the word "Amway" and advised us that it wasn't really Amway. It was their own 
business, and it involved hundreds of companies. Kerry and Chris told us that it was 
going better than they had ever expected and wanted to know if we wanted to see "the 
business" sometime. We agreed to look at it sometime, more to be polite than out of any 
real interest. Kerry said he would call us, and we could get together when he had time. 

As promised, Kerry called about a week later and set up an appointment to come 
over. Soon, we found ourselves at our kitchen table seeing "the plan" for the very first 
time. He explained that it was far more than just Amway. Kerry told us that, "Amway 
was only the corporate supplier." We saw a catalog that had a huge selection of 
recognized brand-name products. (Amway later developed brochures with the quote, 
"Known for the Company we keep." 1 This went on to list companies like Kenwood, 
Playskool, Samsung, Goodyear, Magnavox, Nikon, Maxell, Toshiba, Kodak, Puma, 
Adidas, Champion, Hyatt, Nestle, Izod, Seiko, Zenith, Sanyo, Sharp, Whirlpool, 
Kellogg's and many others.) The most striking thing I remember about that day was 
seeing the book entitled Profiles of Success. It depicted many, many couples who became 
wealthy in the business we had just been shown. Over the next decade, I would become 
so familiar with their stories that I could practically recite them by heart. At that first 
meeting, Kerry told us that these Amway millionaires were actually willing to come teach 
us how to do what they had done. But we had to be willing to do the work. 

They explained that there was a specific pattern of success helping all these 
people become wealthy in Amway or "The Business." The word Amway was spoken only 
once in the two-hour presentation. They promised us that we would have access to 
monthly seminars and ongoing training by people who had gained wealth through The 
Business. The catalog and the diversity of products impressed me. Kerry explained there 
were so many products, that we did not have to sell things. This was a relief, as neither 
Kathy nor I were salespeople. Apparently, our business would be just to purchase 
products we already used from their special catalog at discount-store savings and then 
show the discount catalog to other potential "members,' recruiting them to do the same. It 
sounded good. At this first meeting and later at other meetings, these common 
representations were made: "30% average off on everything you buy" and "Can you 
imagine taking 1/3 of your household budget and putting it into your savings account 
every year?" 

Much later, we saw a brochure that was made available to recruit potential 
distributors. It alleged potential annual savings for a family of four of $6,48 1. 3 It was 
explained that these massive savings were the result of two factors. The first was the fact 
that "we" did not have the cost of traditional retail establishments. There were normally 
large amounts of revenue eaten up by the cost of buildings, labor, employees and 
employee theft. The second factor was that there were tremendous economies of scale 
negotiated to the benefit of the distributors. Specifically, we were able to get a far better 
price on sneakers, for example, because Amway purchased in such volume — perhaps 
10,000 pairs at a time. We only needed to purchase one pair as distributors for our own 



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use, but we reaped the benefit of the price negotiated for the bulk purchase. (The 30% 
average savings on almost all household purchases was one of the most common 
deceptive representations made to prospects to induce participation. Our sponsors would 
not leave catalogs with us to check prices. We had to take the promise of savings on 
faith.) 



"Some people that are brand new, they come., they say.. Who 
sells? Somebody sells... I always like to say to them.... "when 
you find that person let me know." 

- Amway Crown Jody Victor 



I was not interested in sales, so it appealed to me that you could simply "use your 
own products and teach others to do the same." As we referred others and taught them to 
shop "from themselves," profits from these sales would come back to us monthly. The 
"middle man" had essentially been cut out, and the profits that normally went to 
traditional retailers would now come to us. This "wholesale" arrangement, we were told, 
was what created the many millionaires and multimillionaires depicted in Profiles of 
Success. A black information pack, containing quite a bit of literature and two cassette 
tapes, was left for our review. It was a catchy idea, but we were indifferent at that point. 
Before they left, Kerry and Chris had arranged to come back in two days to pick up the 
information and to answer any questions we had. 

Before our prospective partners arrived, we were already having an argument over 
The Business. I knew the value of mentors. After many trials and tribulations, Kathy had 
given birth to our first child, Josh, and did not ever want to be away from him. I knew we 
needed to get around wealthy people, if we were ever going to succeed. In the middle of 
this "discussion," the doorbell rang. It was our Amway friends. 

Somewhat to our surprise, Kerry and Chris did not want to talk much about 
Amway at all. Instead, they focused on helping us create a list of our dreams and goals. 
Sure we wanted to be debt free, have a nice home in a safe neighborhood, drive newer 
and safer cars, vacation, help our parents, and be together; what did that have to do with 
how this business worked? They pulled out Profiles of Success again, and we thumbed 
through it. They told us that the Amway Diamonds featured in the book had no work 
schedule and extensive family time. This lifestyle was constantly referred to as one of 
"six Saturdays and a Sunday." Because of the residual or regenerative nature of the 
income, the more you made, the less time it took. (We actually found out much later that 
no one lives this reported lifestyle.) 

[For purposes of clarification, let me again state that the quotes and 
representations referenced in this book are not necessarily in exact chronological order, 
but rather in topical order. They are indicative of the statements and business 
philosophies that were promoted to either prospects or distributors in Amway.] 



It's Unbelievable audiotape DBR 897 



11 



12 



Don't you want to be like Ray Kroc? 

"Amway is an outstanding company that understands the 
power of motivating people to discover and reach their 
potential." 

Zig Ziglar 

One of the many analogies used by Amway distributor leaders to illustrate this 
was a reference to the McDonald's franchising system. Would you rather own one 
McDonald's or be Ray Kroc and have the right to franchise or duplicate your efforts? 
Isn't it far better to have 10% of one hundred businesses than 100% of one? By helping 
many people succeed in owning their own franchise, so to speak, you could literally work 
yourself out of a "job" and live comfortably on the residual income, generated by the 
businesses you started. This residual income stream could even be passed on to your 
children as part of your estate. 

There was "no way to lose money", as it was the perfect business opportunity 
with "no employees or overhead." When we questioned them about the apparent 
pyramid nature of the business, we were advised "no one makes more money off your 
business than you." Kerry later informed us, "This is a legal requirement that keeps this 
business from being a illegal pyramid." 

Profiles of Success sold me. It was obvious, from all the information we had 
accessed, that this business worked! As a corporation, Amway was doing somewhere 
around two billion dollars a year in volume, and was dealing with the many of the largest 
manufacturers in the country, and had created many millionaires, as evidenced by 
Profiles of Success. This appealed to me very strongly. All my life, I had dreamed of 
succeeding and being able to provide very well for those I loved. I wanted to be able to 
create a large income — and we were advised that the Diamonds were making at least 
$250,000 a year in Amway. Most important of all, to have unlimited family time would 
be a dream come true! I had always wanted to have my own business, and this looked 
like the answer. I did not believe that anyone was willing to work harder than I would in 
this business. If I could meet one of the many millionaire mentors, I knew we would 
succeed. 

We were very fortunate in that we were able to meet an Amway Double 
Diamond, Zack Walters, in just a few weeks. Zack was "showing the plan" at a home 
about 10 minutes from where we lived. We were told that he was a millionaire-maker. He 
was a former teacher, who, we were told, had become a millionaire in this business in 
only four years. We were later informed, "he bought a home appraised at a million and a 
quarter when he was twenty-nine years old... the same year he bought a bank." He 
certainly sounded like someone who understood the principles of success, but we 
remained cautious. 



Zig Ziglar Amagram January 1999 
Typical representation 
Not his real name. 



12 



13 



For some reason, we expected him to be somewhat arrogant just because he was 
wealthy. When he drove up in his Mercedes, people were rushing to hold the door open 
for him and to carry his briefcase. Upon entering the home, he was handed a cup of 
coffee, already prepared exactly to his liking. It was almost as if a member of the royal 
family was visiting. He wore a hand-tailored suit, expensive leather shoes, and tens of 
thousands of dollars in jewelry; all of which certainly made him look like the picture of 
success. This very slick image was exactly what we had expected. But much to our 
surprise, he was very friendly and had more than his share of charisma. He joked and 
laughed with those he knew. He casually walked around the room and met most of the 
new people. His sincere smile and warm handshake made us feel as if we had just met a 
new friend. This was not at all what we had anticipated. After about 15 minutes of small 
talk, our sponsor got up and introduced Zack as the speaker for the evening. 

We expected a very hard-core, high-pressured sales pitch. We could not have 
been more wrong. Zack began his presentation with a few lighthearted jokes that set 
most of the audience at ease. The presentation moved into a description of how hard Zack 
had worked before The Business in an effort to succeed. It seemed as if no matter what he 
had tried to do in the past, he always ran out of either time or money. By now, he had my 
attention, because this really sounded like me! 

Zack went on to explain many people's lack of success is due to our engaging in 
production work of one sort or another. Specifically, most of us toiled our entire lives, 
exchanging time for dollars. It would not matter if we were bricklayers or neurosurgeons, 
as both merely traded hours for dollars. No matter how long we did this, we would 
always be busy. Zack used many analogies to illustrate the point that most people were 
working harder and longer for less and less. He emphasized that, according to the Social 
Security Administration, 95% of the people at retirement would be either dead, dead 
broke, or still working. Only five percent would ever become financially free. 

How could anyone succeed against such staggering odds? It was really quite 
simple, he explained. All we had to do was get advice from people who had already 
achieved success. How do you stay broke? Simple. You just get advice from people in 
the 95 percent group and follow it. To succeed, all people needed to do was 'plug into' 
others who have already succeeded, those who are in the five percent. Simply put, 
wealthy people could teach you how to become wealthy. Even the best and most well- 
meaning parents, teachers, accountants, attorneys, friends and co-workers could not 
possibly help you accomplish something that they themselves had never experienced. 
How could someone give you directions to a place that they have never been? This 
philosophy made sense to me. I whispered to Kathy, "It's what I've been telling you. All 
I need to do is get business advice from a millionaire." 

Zack then spent an enormous amount of time developing people's dreams. He 
claimed that God's word said, "a man without vision shall perish." Zack stressed the vital 
importance of dreams and goals. He explained that most people don't focus on these 
things but, instead, focus on the negative in life. Soon, we all were thinking about living 
debt free, driving newer vehicles, living in newer homes in nicer neighborhoods, taking 
our children to Disney World, helping our loved ones, and spending time with our 
families. 

Before long, most of us had verbalized these goals and objectives. Zack 
commended us, saying that most people get so busy earning a living that they have no 



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time to design a life. He declared that many people spend more time planning a family 
vacation than they spend planning their entire future. Obviously, we were going to be 
different, and it truly was exciting to think about the possibilities our future held. Zack 
concluded the presentation with a quick review of the logistics of the Amway sales and 
marketing plan. This portion of the two-hour meeting took only about 15 minutes. The 
details became clearer, as we saw the plan again. 

Zack described what we saw as a very specific two- to five-year plan for financial 
freedom. Once again, Amway was mentioned only once, very briefly, at the very end. It 
was described as only serving a supply function. The Business operated on a very simple 
concept in that you just changed your shopping habits to purchase goods and services 
from yourself, at a 30 percent discount over the retail stores, where you currently did 
your shopping. Due to these economies of scale, the business was commonly referred to 
as a "wholesaling business." 

Now, as consumers, we collectively had nearly two billion dollars in annual 
purchasing power. This represented an incredible increase in leverage, affording us the 
ability to purchase things from ourselves at "wholesale." In wrapping up the meeting, he 
thumbed through Profiles of Success, in which he was featured. There was one statement 
that Zack made that I can still hear as clearly as if it were yesterday. He revealed, "This 
business didn't make me a millionaire... It made me a multi-millionaire.... Everybody has 
got to be something." Kathy and I were almost in shock at the prospect of having a multi- 
millionaire helping us personally. To make it even better, he spoke of his faith and time 
with his family and of things we all cherish. He shared how he and his wife enjoyed 
greeting the school bus together when the kids got home. He had found that elusive 
balance in life and was willing to give us directions. I thought for sure this was it. I had 
found my mentor. 

There followed a whirlwind of introductory and follow-up meetings, and it 
became time to "break open our kit." The only thing we knew this kit contained was a 
"vendor number" to track all of the business volume back to us for payment. We were 
surprised and confused to see the box was filled with Amway products. Was this really 
Amway or not? It was explained that technically we were wholesale business owners and 
that Amway merely served as our supplier. The most important part of the business was 
the support side, which included the team of people in our upline. They would teach us 
how to build a network through which large amounts of product would flow. On this 
note, our sponsors completed the application and handed it to us to sign. 

We were advised many times in The Business, "There is nothing in the Amway 
kit to teach you how to build the business. Rich and Jay [references to Amway Co- 
founders Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel] haven't sponsored anyone in 20 years... your 
upline is the source of information, as they have developed the organization that moves 
the majority of all the products." We did not understand clearly if this was or was not 
Amway. Specifically, it was not clear what the difference was between Amway and our 
upline. Despite the initial confusion, we were excited about having a chance to build our 
future together. We signed the Amway application, and our sponsors, Kerry and Chris, 
congratulated us. We had no hint that what we had just signed up for would take us to the 
brink of hell — nearly complete personal, financial, emotional, and spiritual destruction. 



14 



15 



Getting Started 

Kerry and Chris scheduled a time to help us get some people together for a 
meeting. They also left more tapes and a follow-up pack for us to go through. They left 
most of the literature and products on our kitchen table but took the box with them. They 
joked that we would get the whole box once we sponsored someone. This seemed a little 
odd, but it was a distinct pattern that we would later learn, duplicate, and teach. We 
closed the door, as they cheerfully congratulated us on becoming new business owners. 
They were nice people, and they were actually going to help us succeed. We listened to 
the tapes they left, which were full of motivation and inspiration. The speakers were from 
different backgrounds, but all had developed incredible wealth and an enviable lifestyle 
via The Business, Amway. 

Many of the speakers on the tapes, like us, had originally held the misconception 
that Amway was a door-to-door sales business. I decided that the concept of the 
wholesaling business, or Network Marketing, seemed simple enough. I knew that I could 
easily find plenty of people who would be interested in saving 30% off their shopping, 
while developing a large secondary income. What an incredible concept! You would 
actually succeed only as a result of helping your friends save money and succeed in their 
own business. This truly was what I later heard renowned author and motivational 
lecturer Zig Ziglar describe as a "Win/Win" opportunity. 

Kathy and I still did not have a complete grasp of the mechanics of how The 
Business worked. It was reassuring to know Kerry and other members of our "upline" 
would always be there to explain the details until we were more comfortable with them. 
This was like having a personal business consultant that you did not have to pay. This 
mentorship program was one of the most appealing and key benefits of this business. 
What a blessing to have successful people leading the way for us. 

Kathy and I began studying the follow-up pack that described the mechanics of 
starting your own business. The literature advised that to have a successful meeting, we 
needed to invite at least twice the number of people that we expected to come. In the 
follow-up pack, we also were given "inviting" techniques and instruction on how to 
handle certain questions that friends might ask. I was very clearly coached to make 
certain not to use the words "Amway", "products" or "selling" in the phone calls to 
friends. There were many approaches suggested, but the basic call went like this: 

Hi, Joe. It's John. How are the kids? How's work? The reason I am 
calling is that you seem like a very business-oriented guy. Are you 
interested in making more money? 

To better handle their response, since the people we called wouldn't have a script, 
we were given a tape called "Telephone Inviting." A very successful, powerful Amway 
Double Diamond, and former Amway Distributor Association board member had created 
this teaching tape. I followed the instructions on that tape almost word for word. The 
advice given on that tape was to say this: 



15 



16 



The reason I asked you.... I have my own business; I have gone into 
business with a friend of mine who has a wholesaling business. They are 
wholesaling all over the country and several other countries. We're 
handling for Spalding, Westinghouse, General Electric, Craig and 
Nutrilite and many other companies. And one of the things we're doing is 
expanding right now and it looks like there is a good possibility that we 
may be expanding in your area. I really don't know for sure. We're looking 
for a couple of people that have their act pretty well together that have 
some management background and some management skills. 

The GETTING STARTED literature gave specific responses to other questions I 
might be asked. They were as follows: 

Question: "Is it Amway?" 

Response: "We get goods and services from over 2,000 different 
manufacturers. Are you looking for a particular product line or what?" 

Question: "Is it selling?" 

Response: "Do you like to sell?" "No? Great! I'm not looking for some door- 
to-door, party plan sales person. We're looking for some level headed people 
to run and manage their own business." 

Question: "Is it legal?" 

Response: "Do you think I'd call you about something that could hurt you or 
your family?" 5 

These responses seemed to allay my own questions, and I figured they accurately 
portrayed what The Business had evolved into. Most of the people I called did, indeed, 
have some level of interest. This proved to me that the system worked. Had I made the 
calls without the tapes and literature, I would have been tongue-tied. 

"The System" 

"The case is. ..each and every one of you has an opportunity 
today that is frankly much better than the opportunity was 
many years ago. You have more tools for you to use. You have 
more experienced leadership as everyone has learned over the 
past years... to help guide you along the way." ' 

- Doug DeVos 



' Doug DeVos, Head of North American Operations, quote from Amway Special Guests Speakers D. 
DeVos, B. Kerkstra GDL 96-21 



16 



17 



Every successful program has a system. The one used by The Business was later 
described as a "field proven multi media professional development program." 6 As a 
matter of fact, it was not only field proven, there was a 100% success rate among those 
distributors that utilized it and, in turn, taught this pattern of success. We soon met many, 
many wealthy Amway distributors at large seminars, who gave all the credit of their 
financial success to the system. Most were openly Christian and praised both God and the 
system for their good fortune. We were getting great results on the phone calls and were 
very excited at the prospect of helping our friends. Most were young, ambitious couples 
with families, and they could use some help in the area of finances. This venture was 
looking like a dream come true. 

Kerry and Chris loaned us a copy of Profiles of Success to keep until we received 
the one that we had ordered. We stayed awake late every night reading each Diamond's 
success story. Most all had struggled before they entered The Business. From the book 
and the tapes that we were now avidly listening to, we learned that these people had 
become full-time parents. Making money was not the highest priority in their lives. Most 
all spoke about "the system." Many praised God for their new lives. I was not a deeply 
spiritual person at that point, but it gave me a sense of reassurance that we were dealing 
with people of faith and integrity. 

The tapes we listened to spoke not only of business success but also of patriotism, 
family, and strong values. Kathy and I wondered how we could have thought that this 
was some stupid door-to-door sales business. This was something great, and we were 
going to be part of it. It was truly our chance to work hard for ourselves and succeed. 
Many of the Diamond-level distributors that we met in person, or saw pictured in the 
literature, wore large diamonds, drove luxury cars, and lived in palatial homes. This 
flaunting of wealth did not interest me. However, my auditor's training to question 
everything was appeased, because these trappings supplied documentation and 
verification that this business worked. To Kathy and to me, "making it" did not 
necessarily mean owning a Rolls Royce, expensive jewelry, and a home big enough to 
get lost in. At that point, success meant having the freedom to be together as a family, 
whenever we chose. It meant being in a financial position to help those that we loved. 
The Business just provided a financial vehicle to take us from where we were to where 
we wanted to go in life. We weren't going to change or get lost in this process. 

Sometime early into the business, Kerry and Chris began promoting a weekend 
seminar with Dexter Yager. Dexter was spoken of not only as the most successful 
distributor in Amway but also in the history of all Network Marketing businesses. Before 
The Business, Dexter had driven a beer truck in Rome, New York. Now when people 
spoke of him, it was with an unusual awestruck reverence. He was doing somewhere in 
the area of a billion dollars a year in business. But being new, we did not want to take the 
time or spend the money for a whole weekend with an Amway guru. We settled, instead, 
on driving almost two hours to the Sunday afternoon session to hear Dexter's leadership 
talk. 

We found what we thought was the right building; there were hundreds of well- 
dressed men and women streaming into it. We asked a few people if this was the Amway 
seminar. They answered something like "Walters International" and kept walking past us. 
Confused, and feeling like an idiot, I asked someone else if this was the Amway seminar. 



17 



Again, this person corrected me and said, "This is Walters' Enterprises." Then, seeing our 
very real confusion, he walked us in to buy our tickets. It turned out that the business 
name that we kept hearing was the name of Diamond Zack Walters' Amway 
distributorship. We quickly learned that saying Amway was taboo. This seemed unusual; 
it did not make much sense that this was a 'dirty word' among what seemed like a large 
group of Amway distributors. 

We purchased our tickets and walked into a large hall that must have seated about 
1500 people. The women in the audience wore conservative dresses, and the men were 
nearly all clean-shaven and in suits. It was a sharp-looking group. The energy in the room 
was contagious. We met a few people, and they all seemed friendly and upbeat. 
Someone walked onstage and began to warm up the group, pep-rally style. Many yelled 
with excitement. This seemed odd, but we were intrigued, wondering what caused the 
near evangelical fervor in the room. 

After several speakers had each worked the crowd into an even more excited 
state, Zack and Molly Walters were brought to the stage as our host and hostess for the 
day. The crowd seemed suddenly to have lost their minds! There must have been a three- 
or four-minute standing ovation. It was all Zack could do to calm them down. I now felt 
even more fortunate for having had personal contact with someone this important. When 
Molly spoke, she was emotional about the blessings that this business had brought to 
them. She also seemed to be very sincere and down to earth. 

Zack took the microphone and spent quite some time telling us of the successful 
background of the speaker he was about to introduce. He described Dexter Yager as a 
man who had become very wealthy, due to his uncompromising willingness to serve 
other people. It looked like the plaster might literally vibrate loose from the ceiling when 
the thunderous applause erupted as soon as Dexter emerged onstage. To Kathy and I, the 
remarkable enthusiasm seemed both odd and wonderful at the same time. 

We had never been to either a business or church meeting that had this level of 
emotion and excitement. These people had an absolute passion for life. We also were 
encouraged that someone as successful as Dexter Yager would come back to help us, the 
new recruits. I do not remember much of the specifics of his speech that day. The sight of 
the room filled with over a thousand enthusiastic people was more than enough 
motivation for me to get going. (Little did I know that, one day, Kathy and I would also 
have an enthusiastic audience several times that size of Amway distributors cheering for 
us.) 

We ran into members of our upline support team. They greeted us enthusiastically 
and commented on what a sharp couple we were. They were all extremely positive and 
radiated hope. Soon, all we could think of was getting back home and making business 
calls. We were very excited! 

In short order, we had two meetings, in which our friends came to see the plan. 
My sponsor, Kerry, did one meeting for us, where we sponsored four distributors, right 
off-the-bat. The momentum was beginning to build when we got the incredible news. 
Zack Walters had asked about us personally and was going to come to our home to do a 
meeting for us. We knew he had helped many people become wealthy. All we could 
think of was, what a true blessing to have a young millionaire coming to our home to help 
our friends and us secure our futures. 



18 



19 



We had no idea what kind of future this visit would really secure for us. . . 



"Some people are hungry for power over others. A quick way 
for them to gain control over others is to tempt people with 
the opportunity to discover some "knowledge" unavailable 
outside of an exclusive group." IST 



1 SA-1386 Amway Corporation Copyright 1996 



2 HVC-4 Videotape 

3 TL-244 Internet Services corporation Copyright 1991, 1997 

4 E-178 Telephone Inviting audio tape 

5 Follow Up Pack Literature 

TL-440 Internet Services Corporation (CR)-Content Reviewed and approved by Amway 



1ST 



Smith, P.W., Hayes, C.P., McRoberts, K.D., In Search of Truth. Springfield, MO:Radiant Life, (1997). 



19 



21 



CHAPTER 2 



Seeing Is Believing 



"The vision of Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos has opened 
doors of opportunity for millions of entrepreneurs and their 
families all over the world. The remarkable character and 
achievements of these men— now continuing with the second 
generation— provide the solid foundation for their remarkable 
company and the businesses of Amway entrepreneurs. Like 
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Amway has been a champion 
of the economic principles that create greater opportunities 
and prosperity for all. " 

- Thomas J. Donohue, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce ' 



The Amway bonus schedule was beginning to make more sense, now that we had 
seen the plan several times. All the products you purchased were tracked back to you by 
your distributor number and assigned a point value. You were compensated at the end of 
the month for all the business volume that went through your organization. This is where 
the power of leveraging or duplication was evident. 

We would be paid on a sliding scale from 100 PV (point value) through 7500 PV. 
The bonuses started at 3% and ranged up the scale to 25% when you hit 7500 PV. The 
plan was still a little confusing, in that Kerry and Zack drew out "100 dollar" circles 
when showing the plan. Each distributorship in the plan was depicted doing a hundred 
dollars in volume. The speakers referred to "doing your hundred" often. In reality, it took 
closer to $220 in purchases to equal 100 PV on the bonus schedule. When I questioned 
Kerry about this, he said something like, "This is how we always have done it" and "most 
people do not find it confusing." 

I remember thinking that I must not have communicated very well the fact that 
some of our people, including us, were finding it misleading. He had answered the 
question but, at the same time, seemed to be ignoring the issue. It seemed like he didn't 
understand what I had told him. I did not realize it at that time, but I had just stepped over 
one of the boundaries you were never supposed to cross. You were not to question 
upline,/or any reason. The meeting remained friendly, because as a new person, I was 
unaware of the many unspoken rules governing behavior in The Business. It would be 
quite a while before Kathy and I were fully indoctrinated. 

We had begun sponsoring our friends almost immediately. We sponsored my best 
friend, Paul, first. We then sponsored some young professionals that I worked with. 
Kerry and Chris helped us break open the new members' kits and go through the 



Amagram February 1999. 



21 



22 



paperwork until we became more familiar with the process. They explained that they 
intentionally took away each kit box after emptying its contents on the table of new 
distributors. This would encourage them to begin using "their own" products. Most, like 
us, were surprised that the products were almost exclusively Amway products. We were 
puzzled to see Kerry and Chris remove a small white form that we had never seen in our 
literature. It was Amway literature that advised all distributors to sell products to ten 
customers per month. We were told to take these forms out and throw them away. They 
were part of the old door-to-door Amway. This was the new wholesale, networking phase 
of Amway. We were just supposed to use our own new household products and teach 
others to do the same. This made us comfortable, as no one we knew wanted to sell 
Amway to family and friends. 

The handful of distributors we had sponsored were very motivated to get people 
out to see Zack. We all were impressed by the fact that he and Molly had traveled around 
the world, and yet he was taking a night out of his life to come and help us. Zack himself 
remarked that he could be home with his family or in countless other places in his 
business, so we should take full advantage of having his time. We were not completely 
naive. We understood that he would derive some benefit from helping us. This concept 
would be constantly reinforced over the next nine and half years: 'No one makes more 
money off your business for your efforts than you.' 

The specific example normally used to illustrate this was that of the four percent 
bonus. Specifically, when you help someone in your organization do 7500 PV, they "go 
direct" and are getting paid 25% on the bonus scale. You then receive a leadership bonus 
of four percent of that distributor's personal group volume for having helped build it. 
Since you, yourself, are probably also doing 7500 PV, you are also receiving your own 
25% bonus on all goods and services that go through your business. Your sponsor is also 
being paid the additional four percent leadership bonus as well. Again, it was clear that 
no one made more money off your efforts than you. You would receive a 25% bonus 
from the goods and services that went through your business, and your sponsor would 
receive 4% for assisting. 

The 4% leadership bonus was referenced countless times to illustrate one of the 
greatest fundamental principles that drove The Business. Your upline would never give 
you bad advice, because it would adversely affect their income to do so. Your upline had, 
what was continually referred to as, a "vested interest" in the success of your business. It 
directly benefited them to give you good advice. They became like a new family that you 
could trust without reserve. Several standard analogies were commonly used to delineate 
how very different the advice was that you were likely to receive in the "real world." One 
of the most commonly used analogies was that of the insurance/investment broker. 
Distributors were instructed to be wary of advice they might receive from a broker, 
because "you may end up 'broker' if you listen." The reason was simple. They were 
compensated on a transaction basis, simply for making the sale, and not upon the quality 
of advice given. 

The wealthy distributors in Amway that would act as your advisers were more 
interested in your long-term success, because it was of mutual benefit. My skeptical, 
auditor's nature was overruled by the pure simplicity of the compensation plan. I have 
always been good with numbers. Math feels safe to me. It cannot lie and has no emotion. 
Clearly, my support team would not benefit unless they helped Kathy and me succeed 



22 



23 



financially in Amway. This understanding was also the source of tremendous personal 
inspiration for us as well. We would only stand to gain after helping our friends prosper 
in their own businesses. It truly was a win/win situation — or so it seemed. 

We became very busy helping our other distributors as the day of Zack's meeting 
drew closer. The instruction regarding the necessity for exact duplication had been quite 
clear. This business was very much like a franchise and to try something "new" would 
not be a good idea. Why reinvent the wheel? People who had successfully built this 
business for over two decades had already established a system or pattern for success. 
Using the same pack of follow-up information, we helped our people invite their friends 
to the meeting that Zack was doing. Some did much better than others on the phone, but 
overall, the results seemed very good. The momentum was already beginning to build, as 
the people we had sponsored now had others interested in looking at The Business. You 
could see the excitement in their eyes, as they began to believe that this could also work 
for them. 

Our sponsors, Kerry and Chris, came to our home about an hour before the 8:00 
p.m. meeting. With Zack coming, they both seemed incredibly nervous about everything 
being just right, making coffee and preparing Amway-brand snacks to be served after the 
meeting. The "plan" would be shown on a white board and easel that had to be placed 
away from the door, so that latecomers would not interrupt the speaker. Children and 
pets were not to be in or near the meeting area, in order to preserve a professional 
atmosphere. 

As I was the host for the evening, I was given very specific coaching as to how to 
introduce the speaker. We were advised that since I had a great deal of credibility among 
my distributors and their friends, / should introduce Zack by speaking of his success. This 
would transfer my credibility to him. This made sense to me, as Zack was a stranger to 
almost everyone that would be present that evening. Kathy and I were the only ones who 
had gone to a big seminar and seen him onstage. We were the ones who could realize just 
how many people he was helping. 

Once again, the GETTING STARTED literature from the follow-up pack was 
used. These were the guidelines that distributors were to follow, whether or not they 
even knew the speaker. (It also pre-supposed the often-false notion that the speaker had 
made any money at all in the Amway business.) The literature gave the following 
instructions: 

"DURING THE MEETING 

A. Introduction - Introducing the speaker is one of the most vital parts of 
the meeting. It sets the correct atmosphere, gives the speaker and the 
business credibility and allows the host to convey his conviction, 
commitment, and enthusiasm towards the business. Remember people 
will be watching you! A good sample introduction is as follows: 
"Okay folks, we are ready to get started. . . I'm glad everyone could be 
here tonight. We are fortunate to have with us a good friend and 
business associate (Speaker) who has driven here from (city, state) at 
his own expense to discuss a business concept that (spouse) and I are 
very excited about and in which we intend to be successful. (Speaker) 



23 



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has been very successful in the business and I recommend you give 
him your undivided attention as he explains it tonight. So, without 
further delay, I'll turn it over to (speaker) and let him get started." 

B. Be alert and show enthusiasm. Take notes during the meeting. Have a 
cassette recorder ready to record the presentation." 1 

Much later in The Business, we learned that people would do business with others 
that they knew, liked, and trusted. That technique or approach certainly helped create the 
desired atmosphere. 

People began to show up about a half-hour early. Unbeknownst to us, some other 
distributors had been invited to our home and buzzed with excitement about getting that 
close to Zack. Once again, it seemed as if others' enthusiasm for Zack nearly bordered on 
worship. In my mind, this attitude was somewhat naive. I was enthusiastic from a 
business perspective. To me, having Zack there to teach our fledgling group was a 
tremendous business coup. It was like starting a new fast-food franchise and having Ray 
Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, there to train you and your partners. 

The house filled to capacity with people. It truly was an exciting time. To my 
surprise, Zack arrived almost 15 minutes late. I expressed concern over this to Kerry, and 
he advised me that most of the people in the room should be willing to wait for hours, if 
necessary, to get the information that they were going to receive from Zack tonight. Once 
again, I got the message that it was not okay to question upline. 

Zack arrived in his new Mercedes and parked in the space that had been reserved 
for him directly in front of our house. Men who had been waiting outside in the cold 
winter air opened his car door, took his briefcase, and escorted him into the house. 
Immediately upon Zack's entering our home, someone took his overcoat, while another 
person handed him a cup of coffee prepared exactly to his liking. All the active 
distributors thanked him for taking the time to come share with them. It looked as if we 
were entertaining a visiting dignitary or head of state. We were beginning to feel more 
and more blessed that someone of this stature would come and help us. 

Despite all the fanfare, Zack Walters was again very warm and engaging. He met 
quite a few of the new people, greeted them with a warm handshake, and learned their 
names. When he came over to Kathy and I, he greeted us by name and complimented us 
on our nice home. Zack had a warm and winning smile and completely focused eye 
contact when he listened to others speak. He had the uncanny ability to make each 
person feel comfortable, almost immediately. Meeting with him in person made you 
almost feel as if you were being reunited with a long lost friend. 

After some friendly conversation, he let me know it was time to start our meeting. 
I was not a public speaker by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, it was 
something I truly dreaded. To make matters worse, the crowd had grown to the point 
where we had to carry furniture out of the room, so we would have enough space for 
people to stand and listen to the presentation. I got up, nervously, and gave my well- 
rehearsed introduction. 

I sat down and immediately started my tape recorder. After all, I had been told 
that it was the best students who became wealthy in this business. As a standard practice, 
Amway distributors were encouraged to take notes and tape these opportunity meetings, 



24 



25 



counseling sessions, training sessions and seminars. We were hungry for every word of 
guidance and advice we could get. This was just like a franchise. We could not afford to 
miss anything, and so, I taped the best of the best and studied every tape. I memorized the 
jokes they used to set audiences at ease. I learned a large number of analogies that could 
be used to effectively communicate several vital points in the Amway sales plan. 
Figuring this was a shortcut to success, I taped nearly 200 hours of income 
representations, training, and counseling with my upline. I would not know for nearly a 
decade how desperately vital these tapes were to become. 

The presentation of the plan went well. Zack's down-home humor and stories set 
everyone at ease. The pattern of how to show the plan was becoming more and more 
clear. The speaker would usually share anecdotes of struggles that they had endured 
prior to Amway. Then it was explained that they had been unknowingly taught to fail. 
Specifically, strategies that had once worked for our grandparents no longer applied in 
the economy of our day. The old school of thought was that a good education would get 
you a good job. Nowadays, there are many people with college degrees who cannot even 
find a job in their field. Many who do secure good jobs later find themselves either laid 
off or stuck in a dead-end position. Most are not adequately prepared for retirement, as 
evidenced by the Social Security Administration figures, revealing that 95 percent of 
Americans are either dead, dead broke, or still working at retirement age. (We did not see 
documentation of this from the Social Security Administration, but this was routinely 
referenced as fact.) 

It was explained that the irony we faced in the economy was a typical statement 
that went something like this: "Today, we may find that the A student (an educator) 
teaches the B student to work for the C student (who now owns a business, because he 
was not "smart enough" to get a job). Because he was not smart enough to get a job, he is 
now a wealthy business owner, employing quite a few well-educated, smart but broke 
people." Usually, the speakers threw in a few horror stories of people who had been laid 
off in their late 40s or 50s. This steered us to the inevitable conclusion that 
entrepreneurship, or personal business ownership, was clearly the key to both personal 
and financial success. Just as we had grasped this, we were informed that not all 
businesses were good businesses. Some business owners were actually owned by their 
business, instead of vice versa. With traditional businesses normally came enormous 
overhead and the stresses that came along with employees. The bigger a traditional 
business grew, the more headaches it normally created for the owner. 

Over and over again, we heard the story of a business owner who lost his business 
and his home, all at the same time. It was a business tragedy, followed by a personal 
tragedy. Normal or traditional businesses required a large investment and also a 
commensurate level of risk. 

By contrast, Amway had all the benefits of business ownership with almost none 
of the detractions. There was no overhead. Speakers often held up their briefcases and 
said, "This is my overhead, and there is nothing to lose... if you left your briefcase here, 
that is more than you can lose in this business." As there were no employees, there was 
no employee theft. There could be no theft in a closed system. 

The speakers often referred to making two thousand dollars a month or more 
within three to nine months. "This could be done on a very limited, part-time basis." The 



Often repeated representation 



25 



26 



most common representation of the time required to create this size income was 12 to 15 
hours a week. It only meant giving up "TV time" a few nights a week, while your 
children were sleeping. The most common financial reference used repeatedly in The 
Business presentation was that of a two- to five-year plan. The financial reward that 
could be gained in this period of time was usually described as "a strong six-figure 
income" or simply "financial freedom." In describing the specific time frame for success 
within this opportunity, Amway Diamond Barry Joye said, "This business will work. It is 
not a 2- to 5-week plan. It is not a 2- to 5-day plan. It's a 2- to 5-year plan to total 
financial freedom." 2 (In the background on this tape, Amway Double Diamond Brig Hart 
says "Amen" in agreement.) + I knew that it would take a tremendous amount of hard 
work. However, I would be willing to be a humble student and work incredibly hard for 2 
to 5 years to provide my family with economic freedom. After experiencing the 
heartbreak of my parents' divorce, it was my family, not the money that motivated me. 



Enticement 

"Most people still believe that America is the land of the free, 
but things are changing. America has become a nation that as 
often as not protects the freedom to do evil as much as the 
freedom to do good, because we no longer know the 
difference. " 

- Dr. Walter Martin' 

Perhaps the greatest selling factor for both Kathy and I, and also the thousands of 
people that we ended up bringing into Amway, was the "fact" that we could create 
ongoing, residual, "will-able" income. This concept differentiated Amway from any 
other business opportunity. Our business would grow as we helped other independent 
business owners succeed in owning their own business. We would all be very motivated 
to work hard and would never "fire ourselves" or "lay ourselves off, since we owned 
The Business. It was a wonderful paradox. The larger our income became, the more free 
time we would have to spend with our families. 

From a logical standpoint, this appeared to be a business whose time had come. 
Despite all the labor- and time-saving devices we have, we seem to be getting busier and 
busier as a society. Success is no longer solely defined by financial affluence. This was 
also addressed in the plan. Many speakers would ask if the audience knew anyone who 
worked 60 hours or more a week at a job or business and succeeded, only to lose his 
family in the process. That price was far too high to pay. This rare and unique business 
opportunity could provide financial security for the family, but most importantly, it 
would give us time to be with the people that we loved the most. For the first time in my 
life, I felt as if I were at the right place at the right time. 

The distributors and guests at our house, that first night Zack was our guest 



+ DBR-769 Your Next Move audiotape Copyright Internet Services Corporation 

' Martin, Walter, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, Oct. 1977 Anniversary Edition, p. xxvii. 



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speaker, seemed very interested in owning their own business. Kerry and Chris had been 
right. We had been tremendously fortunate to have Zack come, "at his own expense," and 
assist us in getting our business off the ground. 

We utilized the guidelines that were provided and ended with some personal 
reflections, regarding our sincere interest in building our own business as well as helping 
them succeed in theirs. There was tremendous energy in the room as the meeting broke 
up, and people began to get snacks and ask questions. Kerry made sure everyone knew 
that Zack had been kind enough to stay later to go over some important details with those 
who were already involved or seriously interested in The Business 

Zack informed us that "Direct distributors" made around $25,000 a year, and he 
and Molly had helped thousands of people earn over $2,000 a month. What a thrill it was 
to get advice from someone who clearly had the answers! Part of success, he explained, 
was the need for humility. Years ago, despite his having a college education, he realized 
that he needed to go to Dexter Yager for advice. Dexter only had a high school degree, 
but he had wisdom. Dexter had business experience. One slogan heard often was, "A man 
with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an opinion." As The Business 
progressed, I would often hear Zack say, "I'd rather be humble and wealthy than brilliant 
and broke. " The secret to success was incredibly simple. "If you want to succeed, find 
someone who has become successful and do what they do. " It is the basic concept of 
modeling. If you do what I do, you will have what I have. If we would humble ourselves 
enough to follow the advice of the wealthy distributors who were willing to advise us, 
success was assured. 

As the teaching session progressed, Zack made it clear to all of us how fortunate 
we were to be working with Kerry and Chris. They had already reached the Silver Direct 
level (7500 PV) that put them in a position to help us move ahead. He built them up as 
our local leaders. They had become far more successful than we had known. He 
explained how important the books, tapes, and seminars had been as he developed a large 
international business. (There was no need to sell me on the tapes, because I was already 
hooked. They were motivational as well as instrumental in teaching me the fundamentals 
of this business. I got a tape deck and turned my old, silver, beat-up pick-up truck into a 
university on wheels.) Zack stated to the group that if we did the following five things, he 
would guarantee us any level of income we desired from The Business. 

1. Read at least 15 minutes a day from a book on the "tool list" 

2. Listen to a tape everyday 

3. Attend all functions (seminars, training sessions etc.) 
4. 100 percent self use of products in our home 

5. Show the plan to people we would like to help 

At the end of the meeting, Zack invited Kathy and I back up front to share about 
the future that we saw in The Business. Once again, we knew what to say from the 
'Getting Started' literature. Nothing was left to chance. The guidelines for speaking 
after the meeting were as follows: 



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"AFTER THE MEETING 

A. After the presentation of the plan, the speaker will invite you, as the 
hosts, to briefly share what you like best about the opportunity and let 
everyone know what you expect to accomplish with YOUR 
BUSINESS. 

B. It is important for the hosts to guide in keeping the conversation on the 
positive aspects of the business. Keep the questions on the positive 
side i.e.: "What did you like best?" "Looks real good, doesn't it?" 
"Now you can see why I'm excited!" 

Objections are positive signs of interest. Here are three proven ways 
to handle them: Using the feel, felt, found method. 'I know how you 
feel. I felt the same way, but this is what I found'." 3 

That seemed simple enough. All we needed to do to succeed in our Amway businesses 
was learn the pattern and teach it. During the announcements that followed, Kathy and I were 
glad to hear that there was a seminar coming up soon. We had gone to see the Dexter Yager 
seminar alone. The enthusiasm, excitement, and hope that we had experienced there was 
contagious. This time we would be going with a small group of people. Little did we know 
that the organization that would develop from this handful of friends would one day literally 
span the globe. 



Seductive Poison 

"In business, [the desire to control others] is often expressed 
in advertising that entices people to want what they do not 
need and to buy what they cannot afford." 

- Derek Prince' 



We were building The Business at an unusually fast pace but did not know it, as 
we had no point of reference. We went "1000" in our first full month in The Business. 
This means that the organization we were developing had done 1000 PV or roughly 
$2200 in business. 

We drove to the next seminar early with Kerry and Chris. One or two carloads of 
our people were to come down at the regular seminar time. Seminars were traditionally 
held on Saturdays. Meetings ran from 2:00 p.m. until 5 p.m., with a break for dinner, and 
then from 8 p.m. until 1 1 p.m. Our early arrival was due to the fact that Kerry and Chris 
achieved the magical 7500 PV level (referred to by distributors as "Direct"), and they had 
to attend the "Directs' meeting" that took place prior to each seminar. 

This was a source of tremendous motivation for Kathy and I, because the 



' Prince, Derek, They Shall Expel Demons, Chosen Books, 1998, p. 138. 



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speakers would give the "Directs" very specific coaching on how to build an even larger, 
more prosperous business. We hated waiting outside those closed-door meetings. Some 
of the speakers had actually retired in their late 20s or early 30s. It was clear to us that the 
keys to our family's financial future were in that room. 

Everything that happened at the seminar did so according to a very specific 
pattern, which soon became quite familiar to us. Once again, we were surrounded by a 
highly enthusiastic, well-dressed group of men and women. Almost every one of them 
was upbeat, happy, and smiling. There were quite a few people greeting one another with 
hugs and warm handshakes. The atmosphere was almost electric. One of the Direct 
couples got up on stage to open the seminar. They were greeted with applause and a few 
sporadic hoots and cheers. The mood turned suddenly somber, as they led in a prayer for 
the speakers, for each of us, and for the country. (Even though Kathy and I were both 
Christians, praying seemed oddly out of place in a business meeting.) 

The microphone was then turned over to another popular Direct husband-and- 
wife team. They, too, were greeted with warm applause and cheers. They said something, 
(which I cannot remember or did not understand) which caused the audience to explode 
into applause and then a standing ovation. Most everyone started a slow rhythmic 
clapping while they chanted, "Fired up! Fired up! Fired up! " This group behavior was 
bizarre and made both of us very uneasy. It seemed very much out of place for a 
business-training seminar. When the crowd settled down, the couple on stage led in the 
pledge to the American flag. This, too, seemed somewhat out of place, even though we 
considered ourselves patriotic. I was beginning to feel embarrassed that we had brought 
people to this. I remember thinking, "Perhaps this is an aberration." We could only hope. 
We had gone there to learn the logistics of how to build a successful Amway wholesaling 
business, as had our friends. Since our sponsors were our ride home, we could not leave. 
We truly were a captive audience. 

The next couple was brought up and identified as our hosts for the day. They 
were well spoken and professional, thank goodness. They spoke of our speakers, Bob 
and Wendy, with the highest regard. Wendy had already retired, and Bob was going to 
shortly. They both were in their late 20s or early 30s. Now they had my attention. Bob 
and Wendy came on stage to a thunderous ovation. There was still an excited 
atmosphere, but Bob quickly set the tone for the afternoon. He spoke briefly of their 
introduction to The Business, their early struggles, and their current success. He spoke of 
Wendy with a great deal of compassion and respect. He introduced her as his partner and 
the love of his life. Bob gave her a quick peck on the cheek as he handed her the 
microphone. It was obvious that they had a great marriage. Wendy spoke of Bob with 
admiration and described him as their children's hero. This all seemed a little surrealistic, 
but at the same time, it seemed like they had succeeded in areas of life that were 
important to us. 

Wendy spoke almost solely on the woman's role in The Business. The women 
took the orders by telephone on a certain night and organized the products for pickup a 
few days later. We would receive orders from the people that we had sponsored. These 
orders would be compiled on one order sheet and then called in to our sponsor. The 
ladies were encouraged to go to meetings, training sessions, and seminars with their 
husbands. After all, it would be far better to be out for a few hours a couple of nights a 



Not their real names. 



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week than have a full-time job and someone else raising your children, wouldn't it? 

She reinforced some of the language/terms specific to this business. Your upline 
was your sponsor and everyone above them in your line of sponsorship. Your downline 
was everyone that you sponsored and the people below them. People that were not in 
your upline or downline were considered "cross line" to you. She also stressed the 
importance of the books and tapes for the women. The system allowed for growth in 
many areas. It helped build your confidence, interpersonal skills, and beliefs. After using 
about one-third of the allotted time, Wendy brought Bob back on with an enthusiastic 
introduction. 

Bob literally took control of the room. He opened with some down-home style 
jokes. His warm, confident smile and slightly self-deprecating humor made him a very 
easy person to like. He was one of us who had made it. He wasn't slick, nor was he a 
backslapping salesman. Kathy and I were in awe of this young couple on stage. They 
were not much older than we were, and yet they had a confidence rarely found in people 
twice their age. Men and women, representing many successful vocations, were around 
me taking notes and listening intently to this young, successful speaker. He spoke of the 
many things that were now becoming familiar to us. The books, the tapes, and the 
seminars (which were referred to as "functions") were collectively known as the system. 
The system obviously was the key to succeeding, as every speaker made specific mention 
of it. 

Over time, we discovered that the success of the system is probably one of the 
most frequently promoted topics. The representations made regarding the system are 
typified by the following comments made by an Amway Emerald at a teaching session 
after a large meeting in a hotel: 

"I teach ... I don't let people in (Amway) unless they 
agree to the system." ... 

"To me it is very cut and dry. The success rate in the 
system is 100%, the success rate out of the system is 
zero. ..now, if you asked that question, you probably don't 
believe that answer right away ... and so I'm going to tell 
you this. There is not one person that I have ever seen, that 
listens to a tape a day, reads a chapter in a book every day, 
does not miss a function and shows the plan at least three 
times a week and he does that continuously for somewhere 
between two and five years that does not make a six figure 
income" 4 

The Amway Emerald hosting the meeting affirmed the statement by saying: 

"I think you were a little soft on it but going in the right 
direction.... That's good ... 100% in. Zero percent out.. .That's that 
...period." 5 

The last topic Bob discussed was "showing the plan." This was Amway lingo for 
making the presentation. It was also referred to as "drawing the circles," due to the many 



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circles you would draw out to represent each distributor in the organization when you 
showed the plan. It did not matter what products you had or how good the system was if 
you were not out showing the plan to people. This was the work, if you can call it that. It 
was so incredibly simple. We could hardly wait for the dinner break to be able to talk 
with our friends about the seminar. Each one of our friends seemed as excited as we 
were. 

As we left the seminar, we noticed most of the Directs were getting into nice- 
looking luxury cars. Many were climbing into well-polished Cadillacs, and one young 
single Direct got into a BMW. It was obvious that there were young people making some 
very good money in this business. We could not wait to get back home to get to work. I 
thought of a few more people to contact and wrote their names down in the margin of my 
seminar notes. I wished I had called them earlier so that they could have been here with 
us. 

The night session had a whole different format. It opened up with all of the Direct 
couples on stage with Bob and Wendy. We were told that this was the awards ceremony 
to honor the achievers. Our sponsors made certain we were ready to go up. The first 
award was for the "Eagle Club" qualifiers. The crowd in attendance was told that over 90 
percent of the people that qualified as "Eagle," would end up going Direct. Now these 
were the specific logistics that I had come for. Kerry and Chris would soon give us an 
Eagle Club sheet that we could fill out as we went along. Eagle Club qualification would 
take some work, but it was relatively simple. To go Eagle, you had to do several things in 
a 90-day time frame. We needed to personally sponsor five distributorships and ten more 
in depth (beneath them). The rest was basically following the system. We needed to read 
daily from a book on the tool list and purchase the weekly standing-order tape series. 
Additionally, we were to attend all functions (seminars) for which we qualified and must 
have 100 percent self-use of products in our home. We had come ready to run fast. We 
just wanted to know what direction to go in. The Business system was giving us a track 
to run on. 

A couple that had just gone Eagle were brought up on stage and recognized with 
an enthusiastic applause. They were going to be the next Directs. Our sponsors, Kerry 
and Chris, were given the microphone and welcomed the new 1000 pins. Once again, we 
were unfamiliar with the semantics of The Business. We later learned that each new level 
of achievement in The Business was referred to as a "pin" or "pin level," due to the fact 
that you are given a small pin, for recognition, to wear on your lapel. We were brought 
up on stage and greeted warmly by each Direct couple. Our sponsors held the 
microphone in front of us (non-Directs are not allowed to hold the microphone) and 
asked our names, where we lived, and how long we had been in The Business. The crowd 
broke into an excited roar when we told them that we had been in The Business for just 
over a month. We had no way of knowing that this was unusually rapid growth. We 
would later work with couples for almost a year to help them accomplish the same goal. 
Being on the stage made us nervous, but at the same time, it made us feel good about 
ourselves. The goal now was to return to a seminar and have ALL of our people being 
recognized onstage. 

The excitement grew as each new pin level was announced and recognized. 
Couples paraded proudly onto the stage to be recognized at the levels of 2500, 4000 and 
7500 (PV). Some of the comments were as follows: "Now they're making enough to 



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really make their neighbors mad!" There were a lot of people making money in this 
business. The proof was on the stage. Some of the Direct men spoke of buying their first 
Cadillac and of their wife's retirement. The Directs on stage were impeccably dressed and 
all looked like very successful professionals. 

Owning a Cadillac was nothing that interested us, but being in a position to keep 
Kathy home with our baby, Josh, was of tremendous importance. The awards ceremony 
was completed, and the hosts for the day invited Bob and Wendy back up to the podium 
to accept a gift. Bob and Wendy were sincerely thanked for taking a day out of their lives 
and away from their children to come and teach us about The Business. Their wisdom 
had been greatly appreciated. Then they proceeded to unwrap the gift, and it was a 
beautiful plaque from Walters International with their names engraved on it. 

The Directs moved off stage to their reserved seats on the front row. This was 
another perk of being Direct. The rest of us had had to wait outside in a crowded room 
like cattle until the doors opened. A mad rush to the front seats followed. As we were 
often reminded, the best students got there early, took notes, tape recorded everything, 
and stayed late. 

The night session was much more casual in nature. This was not a teaching time 
per se, but a time for the speakers to share their stories. This session, in Amway lingo, 
was referred to as "the rally." It took a while to learn this new language! The speakers 
each made brief references to their lives prior to becoming involved in this business. 
Most of the evening centered around how the speakers were sponsored into Amway as 
well as their initial thoughts and apprehensions. 

Most of the speakers at these seminars would focus on the many intangible 
benefits that The Business had provided. Almost all had improved in areas such as goal 
setting, time management, and communication. Nearly all gave credit to The Business 
and the system for the wonderful marriages that they now enjoyed. Most of the men 
spoke of their wives with tremendous pride, gratitude, and respect. Being in The 
Business was not just a great financial opportunity but also a means by which you could 
improve every aspect of your life. The women would speak of their husbands with a 
reflective level of admiration and often comment on how thankful they were to be 
married to a real man. These men were heroes in their own homes. They were men of 
integrity and good providers. 



A Godly Business 

"From the very beginning ...Rich and I sought to run our sales 
organization according to biblical principles of integrity, 
faithfulness, and truthfulness. ...A business without integrity 
will be penalized in the marketplace." 

- Amway Co-Founder Jay Van Andel 
Something stirred deep within me. I would have given anything to have Kathy 



Jay VanAndel from An Enterprising Life 



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feel that way about me. Quite a few of the speakers would give praise, thanks, and glory 
to their Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we are Christians, these professions of faith in a 
business setting made us somewhat uneasy. The children of distributors appeared to be 
the greatest benefactors. We learned that almost all of the women at the Direct distributor 
level (referred to as "Directs") were stay-at-home moms. This was an option that we had 
wanted to exercise until our children were of school age. Kathy had a degree in preschool 
education and was looking into courses at a local college. These courses would enable 
her to get her BA in elementary education with her teaching certificate and allow her to 
fulfill her dreams of being a grade-school teacher, once our children were all in school. 

We learned that all the Diamonds and the distributors at the "Emerald" level were 
retired, making at least $100,000 and had become full-time parents. Having grown up in 
a family that had not survived the many stresses of life, this would be a dream come true 
for me. At the core of my being, I felt that I had to be able to provide financial security 
for my family. To be able to accomplish this and have unlimited time with Kathy and 
Josh would be a blessing that I could barely comprehend. 

There still were small fears and apprehensions, but the more I was in the system, 
the more comfortable I became. It was a relief to hear that, early on, many of the Amway 
leaders had felt exactly as we did now as new distributors. Many of the speakers that we 
would come to hear also had the preconception that Amway was a soap-selling business. 
We were all relieved to be in what was described as Phase 3 of Amway. This phase was 
described as network marketing. The evolution of Amway was well described in The 
Business Handbook, which was written by Dexter Yager and his son, Doyle. The 
description they gave was as follows: 

"During 1959 and continuing through the 1960s, Phase One of 
this new phenomenon began, primarily in the form of direct sales. The 
company, with a relatively small number of pioneering distributors and a 
limited number of well received products, did $500,000 in sales the first 
year. By the end of the decade, sales reached over $300 million. 

Looking back, we now see that Phase Two began emerging during 
the 1970s as a new term was added - "multi-level marketing" — which 
emphasized the long term aspects of building organizational depth. 
Distributors began to recognize the additional security through this new 
business dimension. 

During the early 1980s, not only did Amway's retail sales cross the 
$1 billion mark and we started exporting our marketing method to other 
countries, we moved into a new phase. With the introduction of numerous 
corporate products and services (beginning with the Amway/MCI efforts) 
into the system, Phase Three heralded the advance of network marketing 
- building on the then - new concept of networking, as prefaced in John 
Naisbett's Megatrends. Corporate America and Wall Street began 
awakening to the power of network marketing and began knocking on 
Amway's door." 6 

This development explained why preconceptions had caused some people to have 



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a negative, if not hostile, reaction to even the mention of the word "Amway." This was 
no longer a soap-selling business at all! What a relief it was to learn that even some 
Diamond-level distributors had that preconception upon seeing The Business. Amway 
Executive Diamond distributor Ed Knickman came into The Business as a successful 
sales professional with one of the world's leading computer companies. His initial 
apprehensions were described as follows in Profiles of Success: 

"It seemed too good to be real," the Florida businessman recalls. "I 
even had my tax attorney look at it. When he agreed that it would work, 
Rose and I started figuring out what we were going to do with all the 
money we were going to make!" 7 

"The Knickmans made several excellent decisions. One of the best 
was to follow the proven Yager system: attending business meetings 
regularly, reading positive books systematically, and listening to 
instructional tapes zealously." 8 

He initially thought he should purchase a lot of Amway literature to figure out 
how to go sell "all this stuff. More specifically, in speaking about his initial confusion, 
he said the following: 

I think that one of the things that you may experience that I did, 
having come out of a sales background, I looked at this business and I saw 
all of these thousands of products and services and my first instinct was to 
say okay, never mind all this circle stuff, somebody has got to sell all this 
stuff. It's probably running through your mind too. So my first order, 
instead of listening to what my upline was telling me, I wanted to go out 
and order about 50 or 60 dollars worth of literature because I figured I 
couldn't sell all this stuff without the literature. I tell you that because I 
don't want you to make some of the same mistakes I did. I got excited 
about this business, like you are. I have seen the little sparkle in both your 
eyes. I know you're both excited about this. There is another temptation. 
That is to want to run out tomorrow, go to work, and start telling all your 
people that you work with about this great business that you have gotten, 
how excited you are, and all these great products and services ...you 
can buy all these things in these catalogs. I can only tell you this. I 
tried that too and it didn't work. And then, finally, I wised up and 
started listening to a guy that you heard from.... 9 (emphasis added by 
author) 

We felt incredibly blessed to have a system where millionaires and 
multimillionaires would teach us either in person or on tape. The difference between 
Amway and our upline was not entirely clear yet. The more we studied materials we have 
been given, the clearer it became. Mr. Knickman defined the supply /support roles of 
Amway and our upline on a cassette tape as follows: 



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There is actually going to be four of us that are going to be 
involved in getting started in this business. One part of this four-cornered 
puzzle is the Corporation that is backing us and supply us. They have a 
responsibility to do just that. They back us up. They supply us with goods 
and services. They make the contracts. They run the warehouses. They 
keep the computers humming and they get the checks out to us on time. 
That is their commitment to us. There is a support organization that you 
have heard us talk about. And they are bringing out a lot of experience 
and a lot of know how, a specific business plan and a lot of tools and 
support materials that are going to help us work together to build your 
business. 10 

We came back from the seminar and began to build The Business in a flurry of 
activity. I still felt that I had far too little knowledge of The Business to make the 
presentation myself. Fortunately, Kerry was very confident in "showing the plan" 
(presenting the Amway sales and marketing plan). 

This mentorship program was essential for our success as well as those we were 
to assist. My sponsor would show the plan for us until I was proficient. Kathy and I were 
very thankful that he was willing to do this for us until I could come up to speed. We 
were very hungry students. It was clear to us that the best students, in turn, became the 
best teachers. Whoever helped or taught many people to succeed in this business would 
then prosper as a byproduct of this servant hood. In a Forbes article, Amway co-founder 
Rich DeVos is quoted as defining his company by stating, "Amway is more than just a 
company; it's a movement to help people help themselves." 11 

The 'people helping people' aspect was the main philosophy that attracted us to 
this business. This inspired Kathy and I as much as the fact that The Business was 
founded and built upon principles, values, faith, and integrity. This was far different from 
anything we had ever experienced in the corporate world. Amway's business network 
Website, referred to as ABN, described some of the fundamental principles that made 
The Business work: 

Freedom 

Freedom is our natural state and most conducive environment in which to 
live, work, achieve, and grow. It allows for our belief in God and for the 
opportunity to build a meaningful, purposeful life. The Amway business 
recognizes, supports, and expands our freedom, which is both personal 
and economic. Thus, it is our responsibility to insure, protect and sustain 
our freedom. 

Family 

The family is our primary social structure, providing love and nurturing, 
heritage and legacy. The family provides us with a consistent set of 
values, and a framework for growth and the ability to thrive as individuals. 
The Amway business respects and supports the family, as evidenced by 
the Amway Policy Board and the prominence of "family" in Amway 
distributorships. 



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Hope 

Hope gives us the power to transform our lives in positive ways. It is a 
force that allows us to envision dreams, establish goals, and achieve great 
things. By offering hope, we open windows of possibility for others, and it 
is why Amway speaks so meaningfully to the needs of people around the 
world. 

Reward 

Reward involves the shared action of giving and receiving. Reward helps 
us grow, either as the giver or the receiver, and there are many ways we 
are rewarded. At the most basic, it is to be acknowledged and loved as a 
person. To be rewarded also means to be recognized for one's 
commitments, valued for one's contributions, and compensated for one's 
efforts. Reward helps productivity flourish by providing both closure for 
one action and impetus for a new action. Reward is integral to the Amway 
business as we help each other grow as people and as entrepreneurs. 

These fundamental principles are preceded by Amway 's corporate vision 
statement, which is "to be the best business opportunity in the world. 



12 



It made us proud to be associated in business with people of obvious integrity. 
Most of the many Diamonds' speeches we heard were reflective of these principles. Not 
only was The Business based upon a seemingly solid foundation, it worked! This was 
evidenced clearly by the lavish lifestyles displayed in the book Profiles of Success and 
videos of the same title. 

Author Shad Helmstetter published another open letter in USA Today regarding 
his independent findings on the burgeoning success of the Amway business. It read as 
follows: 



" An American Victory Letter #2 

(Tuesday, July 15, 1997) 

"An Open Letter to Amway Distributors & Friends" 

In my research, and throughout the course of writing a number of books in 
the field of personal growth, I have always looked for those ideas and 
methods that work best, and help us change our lives for the better. 

A year ago, after several years of researching the Amway Distributor 
organization, I published an open letter to Independent Amway 
Distributors. Since that time I have continued my research into the Amway 
organization. I have met and interviewed Amway Distributors at every 



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level. I have traveled overseas and observed, first-hand, the growth of 
Amway internationally. I have studied the results in the lives of the 
individuals and families who are Amway Distributors. 

As a result of my research, I have come to believe that becoming an 
Amway Distributor may be one of the best ideas for personal and 
professional growth I have ever found. 

Here is a brief summary of what I have learned: 

1. Amway works. 

There are successful Amway Distributors today who 
are the grandchildren of people who became Amway 
Distributors three generations ago. The Amway 
business has proved itself by enduring and growing. I, 
and others, predict that as we head into the 21st century, 
Amway will be one of the healthiest and strongest 
independent business organizations anywhere in the 
world. 

2. Amway has won the respect of business leaders 
everywhere. 

Through decades of growth and refinement, Amway 
Distributors represent the forefront of a system of 
distribution that is state-of-the-art today, and is clearly 
the coming wave of the future. Amway has emerged at 
the head of its field at precisely the time when more 
people than ever want to be independent, work out of 
their homes, or be in business for themselves. 

3. Amway's success is not an accident. 

The growth of the Amway Distributor organization 
itself is based on solid principles and values — family, 
home, integrity, real goals, helping others, and honest 
achievement. Independent Amway Distributors are our 
neighbors, our families, and our friends. When I met 
and studied the people in the Amway business, I 
discovered they are people just like us, who share a 
common goal to improve their lives, create the best for 
their families, and make the world around them a better 
place to live. 

4. Being in the Amway business creates a winning way 
of life. 

There is an attitude throughout the Amway organization 
that is healthy, positive, and filled with belief. It is a 



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reminder of the same kind of determination, spirit, and 
strength of character that made our country great in the 
first place. 

Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D." 

The credibility seemed to grow in tandem with Amway's now escalating multi- 
billion dollar global annual sales. We occasionally received photocopies of Amway 
bonus checks that members of our upline had deposited. One set of these checks came 
from Zack and Molly Walters. There were six checks that came in over a two-month 
period. The grand total of these checks came in at just over $166,000. Another set that we 
received came from Dexter Yager and his wife, Birdie. Once again, it was pointed out 
that these came in during about a two-month time frame and had a cumulative total of 
over $2,132,000. This income was for only two months! Zack and other Diamonds later 
emphatically stated, "Many of you will earn a strong seven-figure income." Several of 
the Diamonds had their own private jets. Certainly, no one was going to tell us that 
Amway didn't work. It was working for somebody! 

I was doing four out of five activities in the system. The books and the tapes were 
inspirational. The large group seminars helped us visualize success and picture one day 
having a large organization. We understood the talks on product loyalty. Over and over 
again, the distributors heard, "99% loyalty is 100% disloyalty." We had to use all of our 
own products. Products purchased outside of Amway were referred to as "negative" 
products. We were told that distributors would even look in the closets in our bathroom 
when they were over for meetings. We certainly could not afford to have them find a 
negative product and think that we did not believe in The Business. There were even 
little, orange, "hazardous material," negative, product stickers that you could order that 
had a skull and cross bones across them and said something like, "this product may be 
hazardous to your PV." One prominent Florida Diamond talked about having negative 
PV raids on the homes of his downline distributors. It sounded like it was done in fun, 
but they would actually run through the distributors' houses, either labeling or collecting 
all no n- Amway products. This was serious. We purchased the products from "OUR" 
business, and consequently, they were going to lead to our financial freedom. Products 
like Tide were not going to pay for our kids' college education. Brand loyalty was 
essential for success. 

Products like the vitamins and dog food seemed outrageously expensive. 
However, we could not afford 99% loyalty. We were taught that the key to this entire 
business was duplication. Our group of distributors would duplicate what we did or did 
not do. We were also advised that our downline distributors would duplicate what we did 
wrong more often than all the things that we did right. There certainly would be no 
negative products found in our home. It would be financial suicide to do anything other 
than use all our own products. It would also show tremendous disrespect to your upline 
(who was working for you) if they saw negative products in your home. They would 
think that you were not serious about The Business or your future, and they could choose 
to help someone more committed. Our children would eventually learn to not even ask 
for any non-Amway purchased products. They would soon realize that products from 
OUR business were going to bring Mommy and Daddy home and take them to Disney 
World. This was so simple. 



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The critical element to success, however, was still missing in our case. Yes, we 
were listening to the tapes, reading the books, going to the seminars and using ALL our 
own products, but I was not yet showing the plan. It didn't matter if we did everything 
correctly — if we had no organization in which to duplicate the proper business building 
techniques. Kerry would get up and show the plan and let me say a few words at the end. 
It took a little while, but eventually, I studied it long enough to be able to show the plan 
on my own. When the people that we had sponsored finally saw me showing the plan, it 
gave them the confidence to go out and do it themselves. 

Soon, we were moving many Amway kits on a regular basis. Kerry let me know 
that I could not continue borrowing all his tapes indefinitely. I had become a tape junkie 
from the ones that he had loaned to me early on. Five dollars a week for a cassette 
seemed like a lot, but I signed up for the standing-order tape program. The tapes would 
just come automatically with our Amway product order every week. We duplicated this 
immediately, so that all our distributors would get their tapes automatically and all the 
information that they needed. After all, it only made sense that they had a millionaire on 
tape teaching them as opposed to me. 

Something happened one day at product pick-up that at first made me very 
uncomfortable. I was carrying boxes of tapes and Amway products from my sponsor's 
basement to my car. As I loaded the last box, she smiled and said sweetly, "We love you 
guys." I smiled and left quickly. They began to tell us this more and more, as did other 
members of our upline, as we got to know them. They told us we were special people and 
had unlimited potential with the way we were able to relate to people. It seemed strange 
at first, but it was refreshing to be around a group of people that were so uplifting. Over a 
period of years, we would eventually become closer to this group than any of our former 
friends or family. 

In mid December, Kerry and Chris came over and described to us what was 
essentially the opportunity of a lifetime. It was a weekend-long seminar almost five hours 
away. It was early in January and was called Dream Weekend. There were several 
reasons we could not go. First, we were feeling overwhelmed! Although we were 
enthusiastic, our total involvement was all moving far too quickly. Second, we had an 
infant son, Josh, and we were unwilling to leave him for an entire weekend. Third, we 
did not have the several hundred dollars that it was going to cost for the seminar and 
lodging in the high-end hotel, in which it was scheduled. There was just no way it was 
going to happen. We would catch the next one when our situation was better. Kerry and 
Chris were very persistent. This was something that I would thank them for later 

They explained that Josh was the biggest reason that we needed to go. His future 
could hinge on this important seminar. There were many millionaires and 
multimillionaires that were flying in from all over the country to teach those who 'really 
wanted to learn.' Money was tight for us now, but after a function like this, it probably 
would never be a problem again. Being strapped financially was actually another major 
reason to go and learn from people who were financially free. We could even bring Josh 
with us to the seminar and were encouraged to bring food in a big cooler to save money. 
After hearing all this, we felt like we had no more excuses. All the issues that caused us 
to not want to go were presented as the biggest reasons we needed to get there. We 
reluctantly agreed to put the trip on a credit card. This Dream Weekend could actually be 
what allowed us to become debt free. I internalized their nudging as meaning 'invest in 



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yourself now for a brighter financial future.' If I didn't invest in myself, who else was 
going to? This concept of investing made sense to me. There was no way for me to 
foresee that by utilizing these principles, I would later be used as an unknowing dupe to 
extract millions of dollars from many, many good people. 

By this time, we had quickly qualified as Eagle. We were well on our way to 
Direct. We could convince no one else in our group to attend Dream Weekend with us. 
That was okay. From the books and tapes, I was beginning to understand how leaders 
think and act. Leaders lead. With much anticipation, we made the long journey with Josh 
to the seminar. We arrived at the hotel, checked in, and changed into our meeting 
clothes. . . a conservative dress for Kathy and the standard suit and tie for me. 

The meeting area was an enormous ballroom. I had been to many corporate 
functions but had never seen anything of this magnitude. There must have been at least 
2000 people there. They all seemed very enthusiastic and friendly. It was the most 
positive, energetic group of people I had ever seen in my life. It was also a group in 
which you felt very safe. It was almost like a family. Speakers at these seminars often 
commented on the fact that this was probably the only group where a woman could leave 
her purse on a chair or table and not worry about it for hours. Things could not have gone 
better. 

We learned that there was special reserve seating right up front for the Directs 
and new Eagles. We walked from the nosebleed section right up to a table near the stage. 
We were fortunate enough to be seated with two young Direct couples that gave us 
tremendous encouragement. They were where we wanted to be someday. They were 
making at least $25,000 working only part-time. We thought what a wonderful business 
this was where people who didn't even know us would give us encouragement! The 
weekend opened with the traditional prayer and pledge. We were becoming more 
conditioned to this sort of thing, so that it no longer made us uneasy. As a matter of fact, 
we were now becoming proud to be part of it. Zack and Molly were the hosts and were 
greeted with a thunderous ovation immediately upon their walking onstage. We were 
now participants and were standing and clapping with contagious enthusiasm for them. 
We had crossed the line. We were no longer spectators or observers. We were "in." 

The people at our table could not believe how fortunate we were to have had Zack 
do a meeting for us in our home. They told us of the enormous global empire he had 
developed. We, too, were slowly beginning to understand how very fortunate we were to 
be personally working with Zack. There was one perception that was firmly cemented in 
our minds as we attended the seminar. What was very clear was the euphoric 
understanding and belief that this business worked and did so in a big way. All of the 
speakers had come into the Amway business with some misgivings and apprehensions. 
Many had overcome incredible struggles and were now completely financially free. More 
importantly, they had no jobs and unlimited family time. 

A New Line of Reasoning 

"We at Empower America are interested in bringing 
Democracy and freedom and entrepreneurial capitalism to the 
rest of the world. I've got a great way to do it. If we want to 



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bring down astro and bring down Communism in Cuba... send 
them some Amway distributors... that will do it!" 

- Jack Kemp ' 

Without our knowledge, an educational indoctrination process had begun that 
would ultimately alter and control nearly all of our fundamental beliefs. Up to that point, 
politics had never been a real issue of interest to me. At this seminar and most that 
followed, we began to learn about the evils of liberalism and of the Democratic Party. It 
seemed that the liberals wanted to take from the hardworking, honest producers (us) and 
give to the lazy, nonproductive members of society (them). Even our taxation system was 
deemed to be incredibly unfair. It seemed that the rich (the producers) paid the great 
majority of the taxes, which ultimately benefited the lazy members of society who chose 
not to work. They tried to explain that logically there ought to be a tax on the poor. After 
all, it was the lazy poor who were the ones that were constantly draining the system that 
was supported by the hardworking families in America. 

It certainly did not seem fair that hardworking families, like ours, supported the 
third and fourth generations of families that were non-productive by choice. This made 
me quite angry, once I began to understand. I went from having compassion for the poor 
to contempt for them. This did not happen overnight or over the course of one weekend. 
This type of information was continually reinforced through tapes, videos, seminars and 
training sessions over a period of years. 

Unknowingly, distributors tended to develop and embrace a totalitarian we/they 
or us/them paradigm. This was most clearly evidenced a few years later at another Dream 
Weekend held in Washington, DC. As chance would have it, another group, called the 
Rainbow Coalition, was having a seminar at the same location. Jesse Jackson was there 
to either speak or lead the conference. They, too, were a very well-dressed, sharp-looking 
group of people. Their group also had tables where people could buy books and support 
materials. In fact, our groups appeared nearly identical with the exception of one clear 
distinction. They were Black Americans, and our group was almost entirely Caucasian. 
The Diamond leadership had a field day when one of our distributors spotted a book on 
"their" table for sale. The topic was something to the effect of how to get social security 
at any age. 

This became a topic that several speakers addressed with lots of emotion. Here we 
were teaching people free enterprise, capitalism, self-sufficiency and the work ethic. It 
was hard to believe that they were in the same building, promoting how to leech off the 
government and the producers. It was portrayed in a manner that almost made it seem 
like a battle of good vs. evil, strong vs. weak or the diligent working vs. the lazy. 

At this seminar in Washington, DC, we learned of another great evil that had the 
potential to inflict great harm upon our families and the American family unit, in general. 
It was the National Organization for Women (NOW). We learned that they were trying to 
redefine the role of women in America. It seemed as if they almost wanted to make 
women into men. They were described as "Femi-nazis." The exodus of women from the 
home and into the workplace was actually tearing at the very moral fiber of what made 
this country strong. Amway Diamonds would often make statements, "There is no 



Jack Kemp, on Faith, Family, Freedom & The Future audiotape FED 94-7 copyright Internet Services Corporation 



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amount of money that my wife could earn outside of the home that could replace the good 
she could do for the children within it. " In a sense, I agree and still agree with the basic 
premise of this statement. Initially, this was an opinion that Kathy and I shared, but it is 
not a moral yardstick by which we cast judgment on others. 

In our Amway experience, women who choose a career "over" their children were 
deemed to have a lack of values or were just plain stupid. Distributors would often hear 
other comments. "Why do you think she's working, because she hates her kids?" To not 
openly offend the un-indoctrinated, these types of remarks were often cushioned with a 
disclaimer such as, "I certainly understand the bad position that these women are in. 
Some are forced into the workplace, because they are married to a man that just isn't a 
man. I don't know about you guys, but I did not marry my wife so that she could pay her 
half of the mortgage." This would put tremendous pressure upon the men to be "real 
men," as defined by the system. The well-meaning husbands now had enormous 
psychological and emotional pressure to build this business aggressively to "bring their 
wife home" and prove their love, while retaining their manhood. If you could not 
accomplish this, it would cause a long term, psychological self-emasculation. Rescuing 
your wife from the workplace was something that every man needed to do and do 
quickly. 

The Diamond leadership became aware of the fact that the National Organization 
for Women had rented the very same facility for a national conference the next weekend. 
Once again, we were faced with the conflict of good vs. evil. Who would protect our 
families? God certainly would if enough of us would rise up. One of the leaders led 
somewhere near 2,000 of us in prayer against the National Organization for Women and 
its leadership. 

The only specific of the prayer that I remember clearly was that God was asked to 
create confusion and dissention at the meeting and among NOW's leadership. A couple 
of weeks later, we were joyfully informed that the meeting held by NOW had been a 
disaster. We were told that the president had announced that she was a lesbian, and there 
was a massive power outage in the middle of their conference. Certainly, God had 
answered all of our prayers and had provided protection for all of us who loved our 
families. 

Another great evil that we had been unaware of was that of organized labor. 
Distributors were advised that unions generally used their clout to actually protect 
nonproductive people and reward them with a high pay scale. This was one of the great 
problems with America, and one of the reasons we, as a nation, may have had challenges 
in competing in a global marketplace. The "union mentality" was a subject of constant 
derision at seminars and training sessions. This was one of the reasons for the extremely 
high costs of putting on a major seminar in any of the cities that we attended. The 
American people "needed to be educated" on some of the fundamental principles of 
capitalism for the country to remain strong and survive. 

The "entitlement attitude" that unions allegedly maintained was very harmful to 
our country. There were countless references to lazy people who made statements like 
"that's not my job." Complaints were voiced that, "a lot of people seem to stop looking 
for work right after they get a job." We needed to develop the strong work ethic, teach it 
to our children, and duplicate it throughout the country to make our nation strong once 
again. Distributors were advised that unions wanted to extract unlimited income from 



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companies without any corresponding effort or benefit. This type of attitude could 
bankrupt companies and be the downfall of free enterprise. 

It was presented that perhaps the worst of these unions was the National 
Education Association (NEA). This allegedly was a group determined to subvert our 
family values and Christian beliefs, in general. It was another liberal group that 
reportedly used its clout to do many bad things. First, it wanted to protect its poor 
teachers and non-producers by allowing them to hide behind tenure. If they were not 
good teachers, they should be fired! Forget tenure! This was not socialism or 
communism, which were topics that they were freely teaching our children. Distributors 
were also advised that teachers in this liberal system had free rein to teach our children 
homosexuality, sex education, and even Satanism, despite our wishes. 

Once again, this set of beliefs was not created in one day or over one weekend. 
This paradigm was developed and nurtured in many tapes, seminars, and training 
sessions. Occasionally, a public school teacher in the organization would talk about some 
of these topics from firsthand experience. This caused us not only to fear public 
education, but also, eventually, to view it almost as a form of child abuse. As our family 
grew, we finally enrolled our children in a small Christian school to insulate them from 
this evil. Other distributors did the same or chose to homeschool. 

Early on, the prayer and the pledge and all of this education about politics and 
unions seemed out of place in a business meeting. It was explained that we needed to be 
very knowledgeable in these areas to be able to vote correctly. A well-placed vote would 
protect the future that we were working so hard to build. Distributors were encouraged to 
do more than just vote; they were also to contribute financially to the campaigns of those 
conservative Republicans who were brought in to speak to us. It did not matter if they 
were not from our home state, as we were urged to get them in office in order to get the 
whole country right. We were thankful that our leadership had more concern for us than 
simply our financial success. It was refreshing to be around people that truly wanted to 
have their lives make a difference in the world. Once again, Forbes seemed to have a 
firm grasp on this movement when it reported: 

In a world where many people find little satisfaction in the 
paychecks they receive from big companies or public agencies, such 
visions of financial independence are often compelling. But Amway goes 
a crucial step beyond mere money. It offers its recruits membership in a 
community of like-minded people - entrepreneurial, motivated, upwardly 
mobile people who believe in their country, in God and in their family. 
"This country was built on a religious heritage, and we had better get back 
to it. We had better start telling people that faith in God is the real strength 
of America!" Richard DeVos writes in his book Believe! 

Amway Distributors are bound by a set of shared beliefs 

reinforced by myths, icons and documents. They are expected to read self 
- improvement books (popular titles include Believe! and How To Be 
Happy Though Married). They purchase and listen to Amw ay-sponsored 
inspirational cassettes (usually live recordings of their "upline" leaders' 
speeches and seminars). And they are expected to use only Amway 
products in their personal lives. 



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Amway rallies typically resemble a mix between a rock 

concert and a religious revival meeting. The evenings are often kicked off 
with inspiring music - the theme from Rocky, say, Chariots of Fire - 
followed by much audience hand - holding, singing, swaying and 
listening to testimonies. Some Amway leaders, such as Dexter Yager, are 
famous for working their crowds into Amway chants and for revving their 
audiences with inspirational speeches that last into the early-morning 
hours. If Amway seems like a commercial version of fundamentalist 
religion, DeVos offers no apologies. "For a lot of people, Amway is their 
only route out (of poverty)," he says. "So Amway relates right down to the 
grassroots, right down to where people live." 13 

We left our first Dream Weekend with total confidence in the knowledge that this 
was a good and honorable business and that we could succeed. More importantly, we 
could help our family and friends succeed in the process. Again and again, these words 
were used reinforce the all-for-one and one-for-all propaganda: "A rising tide raises all 
ships." 



"There are three ways the desire to control others expresses 
itself: manipulation, intimidation and domination." 

- Derek Prince ' 



1 Getting Started Literature from Follow Up Pack 

2 Walter's Tape of The Week 

3 Getting Started Literature from Follow Up Pack 

4 Amway Distributor Leader 02/16/99 Open Recruitment Meeting at Hotel 

5 Amway Emerald (Kerry) 02/16/99 Open Recruitment Meeting at Hotel 

6 The Business Handbook, Dexter R. Yager, Sr. with Doyle Yager p. 68 

7 Profiles of Success, Copyright Internet Services Corporation 1978, 1995 

8 Ibid 

9 DBR-769 Your Next Move Copyright Internet Services Corporation 



' Prince, Derek, They Shall Expel Demons, Choice Books, 1998, p. 137. 



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10 DBR-769 Your Next Move Copyright Internet Services Corporation 

11 Forbes, December 9, 1991 p. Klebnikov 

12 Amway Business Network Site post July 12, 1999 

13 Forbes, December 9, 1991 p. Klebnikov 



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CHAPTER 3 



Fully Committed 



"Amway distributors are dramatic proof that the American 
spirit of free enterprise is, and will continue to be, a vibrant 
force for good at home and around the world." 

- Gerald R. Ford, 38 th President of the United States ' 



We came home from the Dream Weekend seminar with a euphoric mixture of 
motivation and exhaustion. Some of the meetings had gone until past 1:00 a.m. The odd 
part was that almost no one got up and walked out, even after midnight. Others must have 
been used to this. We did not yet have that kind of endurance. What we lacked in 
endurance, though, we made up for with work. 

Soon, I was doing one-on-one presentations and group house-meetings almost 
every night. The numbers began to grow rapidly. It was not long until we had our own 
"open meeting" in our town. This proved a tremendous advantage in furthering the 
growth of our organization. In an open meeting, a very successful distributor would show 
the plan on a large board and easel in the ballroom of a local hotel. This was a very 
professional setting and added to the credibility of our now rapidly expanding business. 
The open meeting was held once a month and was presented by either an Amway Profit 
Sharing Direct-, Emerald-, or Diamond-level distributor. 

This terminology of the various levels requires some definition and description. A 
Profit Sharing Direct was a distributor who had maintained 7500 PV for six months in the 
fiscal year. An Emerald distributor had not only achieved the level of profit sharing but 
had helped at least three of his down-line distributors accomplish this as well. We were 
informed that Emerald distributors made at least $100,000 a year. Most were able to 
retire at this level. The standard repeated slogan was "three you're free, six you're rich." 
Diamond distributors were those who had helped at least six different distributor 
organizations reach the level of profit-sharing in a fiscal year. We were told that the 
lowest representation of income at this level was normally around $250,000 a year. 

It certainly was a thrill to have many young, financially free distributors show the 
plan, and teach us and the "leaders" we had sponsored. The most important part of these 
meetings was the nuts-and-bolts teaching sessions after the prospects had left the room. 
As distributors, we could write questions on a piece of paper and pass them forward to be 
answered by the guru dujour. 

We 'went Direct' in a little under a year. This certainly was an exciting time! The 
real thrill was not for us to be recognized on stage, but to see distributors in our group 
brought up and recognized at each new level. When Kathy and I went Direct, it gave all 



Take Charge of Your Future; Stock No. SA-217, copyright 1997 Amway Corporation 



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of our friends the hope that they could do it too. A renewed, high-energy level rolled 
through the organization, as it began to pick up momentum. We now had an open 
invitation to all of the Direct meetings. We got there early with notebooks and tape 
recorder and stayed late. Here we began to meet the Emeralds and Diamonds that we had 
only known from a distance. Wefelt as if we had known many of them intimately from 
listening to all of their tapes. We wanted to know what they knew, and we wanted to have 
the family-oriented lifestyles that they described. 

The teaching at this level became far more streamlined. We had heard many times 
about the Cardinal Rules, but they were repeatedly hammered home at this level. "The 
Cardinal Rules," distributors were advised, "were rules that you must "never, never, 
never, never, ever violate." It sounded a little hardcore, but Direct-level distributors were 
advised that violating any of these principles could cause significant damage to even a 
large organization. At lower levels, these rules were important, but at the leadership level, 
they were as vital as water is to life. Our upline Diamond shared these principles with us 
solely to assist us in protecting what we were working hard to build. 



"When a movement requires you to lose your identity, most 
times the movement is a cult." 

- Billy Hornsby' 



Never Pass Negative 

The first cardinal rule is that a distributor should never speak negative words. You 
were not to talk negatively about a situation, a person, or product. My firsthand 
experience with this came fairly early on in The Business. Kerry and Chris had given us a 
chocolate food-bar to try that had come from The Business. The next time I saw them, 
they asked what I had thought about it. In my mind, that meant I was supposed to give 
them an honest opinion. I told them that it tasted okay, but it seemed grossly overpriced. 
They smiled and did not really make any comment at that time. 

In a week or so, we had a training session for the group. One of their talks was on 
the topic of "never passing negative." Specifically, if you do not like a product or feel that 
it may be pricey, don't ever speak it. Why? Because someone in your group may like it 
and may determine, by their standards, that it is reasonably priced. This business was 
predicated upon successful duplication, and if everyone spoke about the one product they 
did not particularly like, a new distributor might get a poor impression of the product 
line. I understood the strong message, and on the surface, it actually seemed to make 
sense. 

There were never any "problems." There were only "challenges" and 
"opportunities for growth." If there ever was a challenge in the group, you were never to 
discuss it with downline. We could take the limited time we had with our people to either 
give them words of encouragement or discouragement. It was only productive to take 
challenges upline for discussion and resolution. There was never a need to burden 



' Homsby, Billy, The Cell Driven Churchy Kingdom Publishing, December 2000 



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someone with a challenge that did not affect them personally. One of the common 
sayings used to illustrate this very important principle was, "Remember to only 'throw up, 
never down. '" In a family, there were challenges that a father and mother handled without 
the children's knowledge, but for the children's own benefit. This was very much the 
same. 

Even more important than never speaking negative words was the policy of never 
thinking negative thoughts. It was important to have enough discipline never to allow 
your mind to entertain a negative or doubtful thought. Why was this so important? It was 
simple. 

We were taught that by nature we moved in the direction of our most dominant 
thought. One of the most valuable things that I learned from Zack and quoted often was 
this: "Your actions will follow your thoughts, just as surely as your shadow follows you. " 
He spoke often of the vital importance of controlling your environment. That was 
brilliant! If our actions gained directional control by our thoughts, the key to success was 
this: We simply had to have enough self-discipline to control our most dominant 
thoughts. That was why the system had been so essential to the success of all those who 
had gone before us. It helped to maintain focus and also block out the negative. 
In light of this, it was vital to avoid negative thoughts, negative people, and negative 
counsel. In the book Mark of a Millionaire, co-authors Dexter Yager and Pastor Ron Ball 
spoke to this issue. They explained that it was important to learn to avoid bad counsel. 
The characteristics of bad counsel were as follows: 

" 1 . Bad counsel is negative. 

Negative counsel comes from well-intentioned people who keep 
telling you what not to do. "Don't try..." "Don't do..." "Don't reach 
for..." they always tell you no when you need to hear a yes. I'm not 
saying that counsel can never tell you something that you don't want 
to hear - sometimes it must, but then it should provide you with a 
positive direction to replace the negative warning. Counsel that is 
always negative is bad counsel. Avoid it. 

2. Bad counsel is almost always over-cautious. 

Bad counsel will warn you about every danger, caution you about 
taking any risk. It tends to be extremely conservative. It makes you 
afraid to move, wary of the consequences of any action. Bad counsel 
tells you not to build a business because of the financial risks, or not 
to grow too big or else you'll be a materialistic person, or don't try to 
accomplish something that might make someone mad at you. Again, 
it's not that caution can't be valuable advice, but that counsel that is 
entirely cautious can paralyze you. 

3. Bad counsel is oversensitive about other people 's opinions. 

If you're getting counsel from someone, and they're always 
counseling you to be careful of what so-and-so thinks, take it with a 
grain of salt. Remember that if you accomplish anything significant, 
someone is bound to criticize. 



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4. Negative counsel creates confusion. 

Instead of helping you think clearly and get your goal in focus, bad 
counsel confuses you and blurs your vision for the future. Counsel 
should be clear and logical. 

5. Bad counsel violates the principles of the Bible. 

I don't make any apology for that statement because I believe those 
principles are basic to your life and your success. To go against the 
teachings of the Bible is to jeopardize everything you love and 
everything you hope for. If you violate the principles that God has 
given, then you endanger your family, your children, and yourself. 
You play a fool's game of high risk with God. You want counsel that's 
consistent with what the Bible really teaches." 1 

This information helped us block out the ridiculous stories we would hear about 
people that came into Amway and left after losing their homes, going bankrupt, or having 
$5,000 worth of soap in their garage. Diamonds finished those stories by saying "if a guy 
lost his shirt in Amway, it must have been a pretty cheap shirt." As distributors, we often 
laughed among ourselves at the idiots who would believe and repeat such stupid stories. 
Little did we know that we also would eventually be forced into bankruptcy and face 
losing our own home. 



Never De- Edify 

"...the cults almost invariably teach their followers not to 
question, not to interact with outsiders (especially ones 
critical of the cult's beliefs) and to depend on the cult 
authority structure to tell them what to believe without any 
personal reflection at all." 

- Dr. Walter Martin ' 

The second cardinal rule was that a distributor should always edify, or build up, 
his or her upline. The more you built up your upline verbally, the more effective they 
would become in working in your group. It would then only benefit you to give a great 
verbal introduction to your sponsor at a meeting or training session. This would give 
them more credibility, which they could use to assist you in developing your business. 
Distributors were often told stories of people who had all the potential in the world but 
had blown themselves out of the business, because they had an out-of-control ego. Part of 
being an outstanding leader meant that you had to have been an outstanding follower. 

The distributor was never to contradict or criticize his upline openly, as this would 



' Martin, Walter, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, Oct. 1997 Anniversary Edition, p. 36. 



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set up a pattern of bad duplication. Phony edification was as bad, if not worse, then open 
de-edification. This would involve being loyal and complimentary to your upline in 
person, but being critical when you were alone with members of your group. This false 
loyalty, distributors were taught, would always come back to get you. Specifically, if you 
criticized your upline, you were teaching your group to be critical of you. Once again, a 
marriage analogy was often used for illustration. There were times when a husband and 
wife would not agree on the topic involving the children. However, they needed to 
always show a "united front" before the children and resolve their differences in private. 



Never Cross Line 

The next rule requires a basic understanding of the network or multilevel 
marketing structure. As mentioned before, your sponsors and the people above them were 
your upline and had a vested interest in your success. The distributors that you sponsored 
and those below them were your downline and were distributorships in which you had a 
vested interest. Any other distributor would be considered cross line. For example, let's 
say your sponsor sponsored you and another couple named Bob and Mary. Bob and 
Mary, and the entire organization that they developed, would be considered cross line to 
you. 

"Never cross line" was a core principle that referred to not having business-related 
or personal conversations with distributors that were cross line from you. It was 
recommended that you had little or no social contact with these people as well. The 
reasoning was that this could cause confusion and inadvertently damage both of your 
businesses. Here was the scenario that was normally utilized to explain this situation. Bob 
and Mary had 10 people personally sponsored and went to their upline for advice. Their 
upline gave them specific, business building advice, based upon the structure of their 
business. Bob and Mary were told not to sponsor anyone else personally and just to work 
depth (working depth was a reference to helping those that you sponsored to sponsor 
others and then helping those new distributors do the same). 

You, on the other hand, may have only sponsored one other couple so far. Your 
upline told you to personally sponsor five more as fast as possible. The danger of cross 
lining appeared when you were having a casual conversation with Bob and Mary. You 
mentioned that you were told to sponsor five more as soon as possible. Bob might say, 
"That's odd, they told me not to sponsor anyone else right now. I wonder which advice 
was right?" Your upline gave advice to suit the specific need, just as a physician 
prescribes different medications for different ailments. To compare notes and hear 
seemingly contradictory advice could create confusion and a loss of faith in the upline's 
advice. 

Early on in the business, Kerry and Chris called to talk to us about a couple we 
had sponsored named Justin and Samantha. Kerry and Chris found out that Samantha 
had been taking walks for quite some time with a neighbor who was now in Kerry and 
Chris's organization. We were told to call Samantha and have her stop doing this, as they 
were now cross line. This all sounded a little too "Big Brother-ish" to us, and we flat out 



Not their real names. 



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refused to tell Samantha to stop walking with a good friend. We agreed to recommend 
that they not discuss business and left it at that. We understood the importance of the 
principle but figured our sponsors desired us to enforce it to an extreme that was certainly 
a little more zealous than it could ever been intended. 



Never Implement New Ideas 

The beauty of the plan and its accompanying system was its simplicity. To bring 
in hundreds of distributors, and eventually thousands and tens of thousands, the process 
had to be kept very simple and exactly duplicate-able. To implement one small change 
could have as dramatic an effect as having a ship that was crossing the Atlantic off by 
four degrees for the entire trip. Initially, there would be no noticeable variance from the 
planned route. However, at the end of the journey, the ship would be literally hundreds of 
miles from its intended destination. 

One analogy that we were all familiar with from our grade school days was that of 
whispering a secret to a child in the front row. This child, in turn, tells the student behind 
her, and this process continues until the last person in class has the message whispered to 
him. It is almost comical to hear the bizarre message that emerges after several 
permutations in the communication process. This is why we had to keep the system pure. 
Prospects were invited in the same manner, shown the plan in the prescribed way, 
followed up on with specific starter materials and started in The Business and on the 
system in a nearly identical manner around the world. 

We were told that there was no need for new ideas. Both couples, Dexter and 
Birdie and Zack and Molly, had spent over two decades in developing the perfect system 
and pattern for success. We did not need new ideas! What we needed were new people in 
a system that worked. This was where the importance of counseling came into play. 

One of the benefits of working with people who were successful in this business 
was that once a month you could get with your upline to counsel. This afforded you the 
opportunity to ask specific questions and to increase the profitability of your business. 
Additionally, if you had a challenge, your upline could provide a quick solution. This was 
entirely logical, because it was nearly impossible to develop a new scenario that they had 
not already dealt with somewhere in their organization. 

We were very blessed in that we had sponsors who were already successful and 
were such a tremendous encouragement to us. They were terrific up-lifters and made us 
feel as if we were truly leaders. We greatly appreciated their efforts on the behalf of our 
business. In the process of building our business to the Direct level, we met several other 
members of our upline. All of them were extremely complimentary and helpful in 
developing the foundation of our business, from which a global enterprise developed. 



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Kindred Spirits 

"I want you to know that I love each and every one of you" 

- Amway Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager ' 

It took a while to get used to hearing the words, "We love you guys. " Many of 
the speakers from stage would say they loved us, because we were kindred spirits, so to 
speak. We were on the same journey and understood each other. We began developing 
very strong emotional bonds with those in our organization as well as in our upline. It 
became very much like a family. This was the most loving, compassionate, encouraging, 
God-focused group of people that we had ever been associated with. These were the 
people that we wanted our children to emulate. We felt, we now had an incredible 
environment in which to raise our children. 

There were now many distributors in our organization that were much more like 
family members than business partners. We had begun spending a great deal of time 
together. Rick and June were one of these great couples. They came into the business as 
quiet, somewhat shy people. It was incredible to watch them blossom as leaders in the 
organization that they developed. Like us, they saw their distributors as partners more 
than downline. Both Rick and June overcame their natural shyness and became very 
effective public speakers. Their love for The Business and particularly for their people 
was quite apparent. Their combination of sincerity and professionalism enabled them to 
build a very credible organization. In their group were teachers, attorneys, physicians, 
insurance professionals, a pastor, and other people from many walks of life. It was a thrill 
to see them recognized onstage at seminars for their accomplishments! 

Then there was Kirk and Linda. They both came to The Business from 
professional backgrounds. In contrast to Rick and June, Kirk and Linda were extremely 
comfortable in leadership roles. They enjoyed public speaking and excelled at it. They 
became the role model for the work ethic among leadership in our organization. There 
was no limit to how many miles Kirk was willing to fly or drive to build their business, 
with the goal of ultimately purchasing 'his freedom.' The organization that they 
developed would eventually span many states and expand its outreach into South 
America. We took great joy in building The Business together. I particularly appreciated 
their leadership and work ethic, as I did not have to spend much time in their organization 
once it was up and running. They established challenging goals and pursued them with 
dedication. 

There was another wonderful couple named Dean and Kelly. They were in their 
forties and were models of integrity. Their daughters often babysat for our children, as 
our family grew. Our children literally grew up together because of this contact. They 
were not bold, confident speakers but made up for this with sincerity and compassion for 
others, making everyone around them feel comfortable and welcome. Dean and Kelly 



' Crown Ambassadors, Dexter & Birdie Yager Stock No. FED 94-12 Copyright Internet Services 
Corporation 
I am not using their real names in this book in order to protect their identity. 



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were a special breed. They were the kind of friends that you knew you could trust without 
reserve. These qualities, combined with a great sense of humor, afforded them the ability 
to develop an organization that included quite a few Directs and an Emerald. This 
organization would include police officers, a surgeon, CPAs, a financial planner, and 
members of nearly every respected profession. This group grew from humble beginnings 
in a small, rural town, eventually extending into many states, Europe, and the Philippines. 

These were just a few of the many very close friendships we developed, as we 
were building The Business. We spent countless hours together in open meetings, at 
seminars, and in cars driving great distances to do "house meetings." 

Gradually, these people became our family. We all came into the business with 
the understanding that we could build on a "very limited part-time basis," when it would 
fit in our schedules. After listening to the tapes daily, reading all the books, and going to 
the seminars, many of us found ourselves going out four, five, six, and some even seven 
nights a week building The Business. It was a slow, unnoticed alteration in our life. We 
now understood free enterprise and the rewards that were available to us and to those we 
loved. We had a new understanding, and we were no longer willing to suffer the 
oppression of regular jobs. 

Thankfully, we had all learned quite a bit from the system and our upline. 
Distributors were advised that it was okay if they did not want to have a luxury home, 
new vehicles, furs for their wife, or family trips to Hawaii and Disneyland. Our efforts at 
our jobs were providing these luxuries for our bosses and the stockholders. 

There were several examples that were frequently used to reinforce the group's 
paradigm that employers were oppressive. A rhetorical question often asked of male 
distributors was this: "Who do you love more, YOUR wife or your employer's wife?" 
Some Diamonds would remark, "You must love your boss more than your wife, since you 
have decided to spend more time every day with him. " 

Others would make joking comments to the effect of: "Scientific surveys have 
documented that your wife is peaking sexually at about 1:00 p.m., and you missed it by 
being at work. Had you been a retired Emerald or Diamond, you would have been home 
more often to capitalize on this scientific phenomenon." Another Diamond described 
people who had jobs as "handicapped in a sense." Having a job was referred to as the 
form of modern-day slavery that many of us chose to voluntarily submit to before coming 
into The Business. 

The basic theology or doctrine that many of us would eventually embrace as our 
own, after hundreds of hours of tapes, training sessions, and seminars, was fairly simple. 
Why would a person of reasonable intelligence choose to put himself in a position where 
someone else (an employer) would have near total control of his time and income? The 
rhetorical question often asked at seminars and meetings was this, "If someone else 
controls your time and your income, they actually control what?... They control your 
life." Why on earth would you want to slave away and get paid wholesale for your time, 
when your boss charges retail for it? You would be at the economic disadvantage of 
going to the store as a consumer and paying retail for products with money from a 
"wholesale" income. In your own business, you get paid retail for your time and buy 
products at wholesale. Because you are the business owner, the fruits of your labor will 
be on your tree. How many professionals do you know that slave away at a career, and 
when they stop working, the income stops? In addition to that, they have built no equity. 



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In this business, you could create a permanent, residual, walk-away income that you 
could will to your children for the estate purposes. 

In addition to the working career, you were investing your life in something that 
had little or no security. Don't we all know people who were faithful, hard-working 
employees, only to get laid off in their late fifties, just before they became fully vested in 
their retirement plan? They would then go to Wal-Mart and could not even land a job 
there, because they were totally over-qualified. 

In many meetings, the acronym, J.O.B., was used with great frequency. If you 
have a J.O.B., you may be Just Over Broke. A member of our upline would even state 
that it was your boss's specific goal to keep you broke; otherwise, you would have the 
ability to leave. We were told that you were paid what your job was worth, not what you 
were worth. Your employers' objective was to keep the position filled for as little as 
possible. If you had a J.O.B., you might not know it, but the word job was a Latin word. 
The root word's original meaning was "jobus operandi," which translates today into "Jerk 
On Board", or so the joke goes. An Amway Emerald would often describe the time that 
he and his wife both had jobs and referred to themselves as "double jerks." Knowing the 
above, if you chose to spend the rest of your life working at a job for a boss, most likely 
you were a "Jackass Of the Boss." With the climate of corporate downsizing at the time, 
these philosophies fed the fears of many people who had legitimate concerns about 
economic security in an evolving marketplace. 

I certainly did not hate my career, but at the same time, I did not want to be taken 
advantage of in any manner. Why would I continue to let someone else control both my 
income and my time with my family? It made a lot more sense to work for myself and 
have my family benefit directly from the fruits of my labor. Kathy and I decided to push 
ourselves hard and build 'our business' without reserve. We needed to hit the 7500 PV 
level to go Direct and make an additional $25,000 a year! 



On Our Own 

At about the time we reached 4000 PV, Kerry and Chris stopped having almost 
any involvement in showing the plan in our group. I understood this was certainly from 
the specific direction of upline counsel. Like many distributors, they did absolutely 
nothing in their business without checking upline. We noticed at the training session, 
there were very few people outside of the organization that Kathy and I were developing. 

We assumed that upline had told Kerry and Chris to go work with new groups, as 
we were "up and running." Their function changed from showing the plan in our 
organization to giving us specific direction in counseling some of our leaders. In addition, 
we would still plan the training sessions together that they hosted for us. At this time, 
there were no problems. The business and system had functioned appropriately, and they 
had successfully duplicated themselves. 

To make these counseling sessions effective, there were several things that we 
needed to bring. We had to bring our schedule book, a notepad, a goal sheet planning 
guide (simply referred to as a goal sheet see page xx), a tape recorder, our group drawn 
out in circles, and an accurate listing of the amount of books, tapes, and seminar tickets 
that we were moving. The important data that we needed to track was listed on the goal 



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sheet. 

The goal sheet was a form that basically served as a road map to go Direct and 
help others do the same. The books, tapes, and seminar tickets were considered tools. We 
would learn that the PV, and its related income, would always follow the tool flow. Let 
me explain how this happened. 

The more books and tapes that your organization was consuming, the more 
knowledgeable and motivated the distributors would be to build their own businesses. We 
were advised that there was a direct correlation between how many books, tapes, and 
seminar tickets you are moving with each PV level. Specifically, the goal sheet showed 
that if your next goal was 4000 PV, you should have 50 distributors in your entire 
organization, 12 of which you had personally sponsored. Of those, you should have had 
at least 25 signed up on the weekly, continuing education, tape program and be selling at 
least 100 additional instructional or "rally" tapes per month. Additionally, you should be 
selling at least 50 books, 10 Amway kits, and 16 boards and easels a month. Also, you 
should have at least 25 distributorships at the monthly seminar (which would usually 
equate to a goal of 50 seminar tickets). The seminar cost ranged from $10-12 for local 
seminars to as much as $400 for full weekend seminars. The two primary numbers to 
track were the tapes of the week (continuing education) and seminar tickets. 

Once you and your organization had achieved the level of 4000 PV, you could 
then set your sights on going Direct by doing 7500 PV. In terms of dollars, this normally 
would equate to well over $15,000 in goods and services. By following the chart on the 
goal sheet, it would be clear that you needed 80 distributors in your group, with 15 
personally sponsored, and 40 on tape-of-the-week. You also need to be selling at least 
200 additional tapes, selling at least 75 books, 16 Amway kits, 25 boards and easels. You 
would also have at least 40 distributorships, (which translates to 80 tickets, since the 
distributors were usually married couples) buying tickets to seminars monthly. 

Once again, Distributors were instructed that there were two key numbers to focus 
on at this point. You would normally have "gone Direct" when you had 40 people on 
tape-of-the-week and had sold 80 seminar tickets in your group. 

These representations did, in fact, work out in real life. We developed a leadership 
team that helped many distributors hit the magical 7500 PV level and go Direct. Some 
achieved this volume level with less than 40 people on the tape-of-the-week plan. There 
was never an instance, however, where someone had an organization with at least 40 
people on tape-of-the-week that did not do 7500 PV. This seemed to reinforce the need 
for the system. 

These specific logistics gave our organization and us a track on which to keep 
running. We did not have to be millionaire Amway Diamonds to give our leaders 
accurate direction. Distributors were advised not to try and go 7500 PV but, instead, to 
build the organization that would support 7500 PV indefinitely. There was a mention of 
customers on some goal sheets, but it was not made a priority in counseling sessions, 
training sessions, seminars, or on tapes. 

Selling represented the old days of Amway! We were building distribution 
networks. The momentum continued to grow, as we developed a team of loyal, 
motivated distributors. The real leaders were out almost constantly in a frenzy of 
activities. There were continual open meetings, seminars, training sessions, special 
promotional meetings, and the usual array of house meetings and follow-ups/start-ups. 



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The pattern became fairly simple to follow. You would show someone the Amway Sales 
and Marketing Plan and focus on their wants and needs. 

Continually referring to these needs enabled you to nudge them to build a list of 
their friends, family members, and co-workers for an effective start up. We would 
normally help them develop a list of one hundred names and telephone numbers. We 
would then help distributors call these names for two house meetings at their own home. 
They would utilize the same form that we had used from the follow-up pack to call their 
friends and family. The objective was to have them make the call, schedule the meeting, 
and get off the phone without having to answer any questions. 

The longer they were on the phone, the more challenges they would encounter. 
So, the goal was to get them on and off the phone within a minute, if possible. We were 
even encouraged to use hourglass egg timers to create that sense of urgency to finish the 
call quickly. If they were met with difficult questions ("Is it Amway?"), distributors were 
taught to say, "That's a great question, my partner is right here. He can answer that for 
you." They could then hand the telephone to a more experienced distributor. Being more 
experienced, the senior upline distributor could usually dodge the Amway bullet and talk 
about opportunities in global distribution. It would also help to mention a few Fortune 
500 companies, for which we were wholesaling. It was not viewed internally as deceit. 
Most of us acknowledged that we would never have gone to our initial meeting had we 
known it was Amway. 

This was network marketing, not the preconceived door-to-door selling business 
that most imagined. We were instructed not to tell people any details on the phone, in 
order to protect them from having their own inaccurate preconceptions cost them their 
entire future. 

The objective was to have a house meeting for a couple at their home within a 
week from when they first saw the plan. It did not give them much time to evaluate 
anything about The Business or product pricing, but they were excited when they 
sponsored someone new and felt as if their business was working. Many, like us, had 
sponsored quite a few people who relied upon our representations before they actually 
had any first-hand experience in The Business. In the beginning, we had not been given 
any time to evaluate or compare pricing, and due to the big push to sponsor quickly, we 
relied almost solely upon the representations of our sponsor and upline team. 

Having people sponsored quickly excited us. What we did not realize was that 
these relationships would be one of the reasons that we would stay in The Business to our 
own detriment, far beyond any point of reason. We had an obligation to help these 
people. We had to make it work, not only for us, but also for them and for their children. 
Many of the Amway Diamonds would quote Dexter and say, "When you build a 
friendship, you build a 'direct-ship'." This seemed to be very true! 



'They claim to direct us to the light, but they actually entice us into 

darkness." 

- Derek Prince* 



' Prince, Derek, They Shall Expel Demons, Choice Books, 1998, p. 121. 



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1 The Mark of a Millionaire, Dexter Yager with Ron Ball pp. 103-104 



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CHAPTER 4 



Big Wheels 
Kept on Turning 



"Rich DeVos [Amway Founder] is one of the most energetic 
and dedicated Christian laymen I have ever known. I am 
never in his presence that I don't feel his strength of character 
and dedication to the things of God." 

- Evangelist Billy Graham ' 



We went Direct (silver producer), and things began to get very exciting! We were 
invited to the Directs' leadership meetings before each seminar and Direct-only seminars 
hosted by Zack and his leaders. This was a thrill! We began to meet the leaders that we 
had previously only known from stage or from hearing on tape. Most were dynamic, 
friendly people, and they were a source of great encouragement. 

At these special meetings, the key principles of loyalty (to your product line and 
upline), goals setting, and the work ethic were all reinforced but far more strongly. The 
metaphor, "you wouldn't feed steak to a baby," was often used to describe the tiers of 
teaching within the leadership. As Directs, we had proven ourselves and were advised 
that we were ready to hear it straight without any "sugar coating." Directs would often be 
asked questions, such as this by speakers, "You're the real men, aren't you? How many of 
you have jobs?" Another favorite was "How many of you enjoy spending more time with 
your boss than your wife? Who is going to do something about it?" They would joke 
about praying for those of us who still had to get up early and go to jobs. 

Indeed, sleeping was becoming a major goal for many of us. I would often stop 
home briefly after work and grab a sandwich, kiss Kathy, and head out of town to show 
the plan. Many nights, I would not get home until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. and sometimes later. 
I would get up feeling groggy a few hours later, kiss Kathy goodbye again, and head off 
to work — and the cycle continued. We kept telling ourselves that it was going to be worth 
all the effort, and soon, we would be full-time parents together] We had to 'pay the price,' 
as they say. I would soon learn to drive myself far past the point of exhaustion. Kathy 
only recently told me how fearful she was of me dying on the road on any of the 
countless nights that I was out showing the plan. I would drive from my home state in 
Pennsylvania to as far away as Maine, Michigan, or Atlanta. In some cases, I would 
arrive home at sunrise, just in time to catch a few hours sleep. The result was that our 
group was growing and freedom was soon going to be ours! 

We had been expecting to make around $2,000 a month as new Directs. These 



DeVos, Rich, Hope From My Heart , (Endorsement by Billy Graham) 



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were the representations made in all the plans that the distributors see. That income 
representation was made in the SA-4400, an Amway-produced document that must be 
given to all prospects after they have seen the Amway Sales and Marketing plan. 
Distributors and prospects were routinely advised that that this was a "Federal Trade 
Commission" document. This continual representation gave an ongoing air of legitimacy. 
The income representation of making over $2,000 a month was based upon sponsoring 
six new people, each of whom would sponsor four, who, in turn, sponsored two more. 
The illustration was also predicated upon each of these doing 100 PV in monthly volume. 
This process was described routinely as a "no brainer." One Diamond was known for 
saying, "Even a blind dog with a tape in his mouth could go Direct. " 

The challenge was nearly impossible to accomplish! We went Direct with a 
growing organization, but it was incredibly difficult to keep that many people active. The 
turnover was overwhelming. We went Direct with a few growing organizations; yet we 
were making a net income after system expenses of closer to $600 dollars a month rather 
than the expected $2,000. I was now spending well over forty hours a week building our 
business, and Kathy was working even harder. In retrospect, I now realize that her work 
was far more taxing than mine. Sure, I had to go to my corporate job on little sleep and 
then drive to meetings. She had to take total care of the children, and our house — meals, 
laundry, cleaning, taking out the garbage and sometimes mowing the lawn — be a source 
of constant encouragement to our downline, and take our downline's orders, all the while 
being the perfect, cheerful Amway wife. This was far easier said than done. 



'This business is a way of life. 

- Amway Crown Jody Victor ' 



I do not recall at exactly what point we surrendered our entire life to The 
Business, because we certainly never consciously made that choice. I do not believe that 
anyone consciously makes that decision. It was the specific result of an intensive, 
seamless recruitment and indoctrination process. After an enormous amount of 
indoctrination and training, we honestly believed our complete commitment to our 
business was the only way we could best serve our God, our family, and our country. We 
began to forsake all other friendships outside of The Business. There was no other way. 
We had no time for anything else. 

There were two groups of people that we had to deal with. There were people who 
were in The Business and those on the outside. They were two separate and distinct 
worlds. People that were "in" understood, and you could easily communicate using 
business cliches. People were either "fired up" (excited) or not. They were positive or 
negative. They were motivated or lazy (if they did not get in). Showing someone The 
Business was often described as a financial or intellectual IQ test. It was all very black 
and white. Friends and family to whom you showed the plan were either for you or they 
were against you. 

Unknowingly, in a gradual process, we went from casual distributors to totally 



Jody Victor, It's Unbelievable audiotape Stock No. DBR 897 copyright unknown 



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dedicated business owners. We were not committing to this business, but to our own 
family's financial future. After all, the income stream from the global distribution 
business we developed would be will-able to our children. It was a slow process, but after 
a year, we had little or no contact with anyone outside of The Business. Our schedule was 
one of unending training sessions, seminars, product fairs, promotional trips, open 
meetings, house meetings, and follow ups. I began to log tens of thousands of miles a 
year in my car. It was not unusual for a committed "road warrior" to sleep in his car in his 
suit, just out of sheer exhaustion. We were fighting for our families' economic freedom. I 
had to be man enough to be willing to pay the price. 

Distributors were constantly reminded that God's Word says, "A man without 
vision shall perish" (Proverbs 29:18). We had the vision and had to keep it alive to endure 
the constant travel and time away from our families. When Kathy and I were together, it 
was usually only for an open meeting or seminar. And this was our only time 
together — with few exceptions. 

In retrospect, I cannot comprehend how she made it for all those years. As our 
business grew, so did our family. She loved and nurtured four-year-old Josh, two-year- 
old Ashley and our newborn joy, McKenzie, almost completely on her own. I was gone 
constantly and exhausted when I was home. I had trained myself to go on very little sleep 
and could keep up a grueling pace for about ten or more days. I would sometimes 
collapse on a weekend and sleep for almost an entire day, as my body recovered. 

No one in our downline knew of this, as we always just smiled and worked more 
and more. We were taught (by several Diamonds) not to share our schedule with the 
group. "They wouldn't understand it, because they don't have the big dream yet" was the 
usual reason that we were given. The plan was shown and prospects were told that 
income could be made in a 12- to 15-hour weekly time commitment. Somehow, this was 
just not making much sense, as Kathy and I worked that much in a single day for a 
combined total of 30 hours. But it was going to be worth it, as we were both going to be 
full-time parents soon. What a joy all of this was going to be! 

Our efforts appeared to be paying off, as our organization began to mushroom 
throughout many states and eventually into other countries. Kathy and I achieved the rare 
level of Ruby direct, which meant that we had developed a personal organization that 
moved 15,000 PV in products and services that month (over $30,000). Because this was 
such a rare achievement, Kathy and I were brought on stage at the next seminar and 
recognized with much fanfare. It was humbling to get a standing ovation from your 
closest friends. We both would rather not have had that kind of attention, but we were 
thankful that God was using our accomplishments to inspire others. 

It seemed like the more we succeeded, the more people in our organization 
believed they could become just as successful. I use the term "succeeded" loosely. At that 
point, we had expected to be earning over $50,000 a year, but in reality, our net income 
was nearer to $10,000 for a superhuman effort. Your income, we soon learned, was a 
nearly taboo topic. You would be treated like an imbecile for even bringing it up. After 
all, this was the purest form of free enterprise in America. We were all paid on the 
same scale, and we completely controlled our own income. Anyone who was not happy 
with his or her income was advised to get a mirror and look directly at the person 
responsible. 

When you had maintained at least 7500 PV in monthly volume for six months in a 



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fiscal year, with certain restrictions, you would be recognized as a Profit Sharing Direct 
distributor. At that point, the plan showed a monthly net income stream of over $2,000 a 
month. With year-end bonuses, Profit Sharing Directs were depicted making around 
$35,000 a year on a part-time basis. This was for a business that was structured 6-4-2. 
Specifically, you sponsored six, who each sponsored four, who each sponsored two, all of 
whom did a monthly volume of 100 PV. 

In the mid to late '90s, the sales & marketing plan shown to prospects changed 
dramatically at the direction of our upline Diamond. We were now to show a 9-4-2 
configuration when showing the plan to prospects. Once again, for clarity, this depiction 
represented you sponsoring nine, each of whom sponsored four, who each sponsored two. 
Now the annual income showed for Profit Sharing Directs working part-time leapt to 
$54,000. This was an enormous shift in representation, perhaps used to draw in a more 
upscale, professional distributor. Our organization began to change in demographics to 
include a growing number of extremely successful professionals and business owners. 

Something else of critical importance happened to distributors at the profit 
sharing level. They were covertly inducted into a business, in which they were already, 
unknowingly participating. All of our downline leaders, as well as Kathy and I, were not 
aware of the fact that we had been participating in an extremely secretive, secondary 
business. This secretive, secondary business was their upline Diamonds' book, tape, 
video, CD-ROM and support-material business. We were notified about our 
"confidential" meeting shortly after being recognized on stage as new Profit Sharing 
Directs. 

Our sponsor called us over for a counseling session and explained that we would 
now begin receiving a small confidential perk. We would get a fifty-cent break in price 
on every tape that our organization purchased and a small percentage off every book that 
was purchased by members of our group. This was specifically described as not being an 
income source , but a means by which our Diamond wanted to help put more gas in our 
tank for traveling and to help us stock more tools in our trunk to sell. 

We were advised to discuss this with no one. This seemed to make sense. It was 
such a completely insignificant amount of money that it did not even pay for the amount 
of gas my car was consuming weekly. Leaders at my level were completely unaware of 
the scope or magnitude of their instrumental role in this covert business. At this point, we 
did not have access to any information that would have led us to question this 
insignificant perk. Therefore, we never felt any conflict about it. This was particularly 
true when we helped members of our group go Profit Sharing and passed this perk on to 
them, thereby reducing or eliminating our own. 

Somewhere between going Direct and Ruby, we got "the call" that we had worked 
so hard for. We were told that we had earned the right to counsel directly with Amway 
Double Diamonds Zack and Molly at their 10,000 square foot mansion. We were advised 
that this was a very rare honor and that we should consider it to be a real privilege. They 
were, indeed, millionaire makers. They had helped many people become tremendously 
wealthy. These lucky people had unlimited family time and lifestyles that most people 
only dream of. We were told that Zack and Molly had over 100,000 distributors in their 
organization and had helped thousands of them make well over $2000 a month. 

This certainly was not an opportunity to be taken lightly. We were instructed to 
bring a written list of questions, a goal sheet, and a tape recorder to tape the entire 



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session. We were both nervous and excited at the same time. This was one of the few 
times in our lives where we felt we were at "the right place at the right time." 

Zack had my utmost respect. It was not because he had become wealthy from 
humble beginnings. He had my respect because he had achieved all his wealth by serving 
others in the Amway business. We were told again and again that his success had been 
predicated only upon his servant hood to thousands of other people whom he had helped 
succeed. I wanted to become more like him. My goal was not simply to succeed. What 
made this different from any other business venture I had seen was the fact that you only 
moved forward by helping others to do the same. Zack had certainly done this and in a 
big way. I was given Zack's private, unlisted home telephone number and a specific time 
to call to schedule our counseling session. My heart raced, as I dialed the seven digits of 
his telephone number. With each ring, it seemed as if my heart was pumping peanut 
butter. 

Molly answered and was incredibly warm and gracious. She seemed to intuitively 
sense my nervousness and immediately set me at ease. She had done this for others many 
times before. Zack got on the phone and was warm and encouraging. He even told the 
few jokes to lighten up the atmosphere. He told me that he knew Kathy and I were going 
to be big in this business, and he was anxious to get with us personally to help give our 
business a jump-start. 

We scheduled a time to get together, and he was very concerned to make certain 
this time would not be in conflict with my corporate work schedule. I knew how 
successful he was and was pleasantly surprised to learn, on a firsthand basis, how 
sincerely concerned he was for others. Kathy and I wanted to emulate Zack and Molly in 
every way. 

Molly and Zack were larger-than-life heroes to me. People from literally all over 
the world have learned from them by listening to their tapes. Some were even fortunate 
enough to see them in person at huge seminars. Some flew in from Europe to counsel 
with them. Going to their mansion to personally counsel with them was The Business 
equivalent of going to Mecca. They had been presented to us as being almost all 
knowing. 

They seemed to have a great marriage. They spoke from stage of one another with 
incredible respect and gratitude. Their enduring love for one another and strong marriage 
made them models for us. They had a wonderful family with whom they reportedly spent 
an enormous amount of time. We were so thankful to get their time, because we so 
wanted to achieve these things as well. This couple had helped many, many people 
improve all areas of their lives. 

The great news of our counseling directly with Zack and Molly spread quickly 
throughout our group, giving us even more credibility within our own organization. Zack 
often spoke of paying more taxes in a week than he used to make as a salaried 
professional in a year. This made his time extremely valuable. Distributors were told that 
there was no way they could afford his time should he ever chose to bill them for it. We 
certainly had to make this meeting count. 

Kathy and I were dressed in our best, as we began our two -hour journey to their 
mansion. It was very exciting to know that the life of our dreams would soon be a reality. 
All we had to do was take the advice that Zack and Molly gave to us and apply it. Not 
only were we well groomed, but our car was spotless as well. Kerry and Chris had made 



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sure that we remembered this detail, as it would be de-edifying/insulting to drive Zack 
and Molly in a dirty car should they decide to go out for lunch. 



You Can Trust These People 

"Rich DeVos is one of the wisest men I've known" 

- Charles W. Colson 

Upon our arrival, it was incredibly clear to us — Amway worked! They lived debt 
free. Their home was enormous. Their fleet of luxury cars was worth several times more 
than our home. We walked apprehensively down the slate walkway to the large wooden 
entrance doors. I smiled nervously at Kathy, as I rang the doorbell above a large 
gargoyle-like statue. Molly greeted us warmly with a hug and invited us into their home. 
Zack was busy on the telephone; so Molly gave us a tour, while we waited for him. We 
had never seen anything like it. 

The house had nearly 20-foot high ceilings in some rooms with decorations and 
furniture from all over the world. The incredible thing was that it was all paid for, as a 
result of the financial principles that they had learned in The Business. Being somewhat 
simple people, we never wanted a house that ornate. It was quite a showplace. However, 
it excited us tremendously to know that we could create any level of success and do with 
it as we pleased. The extreme material success that they enjoyed was not what we 
desired, but simply more evidence that The Business we were building worked and 
worked well for those willing to put in the effort. 

Molly got us each a cold drink and excused herself to see how long Zack would 
be unavailable. In a few minutes, they returned together. Zack greeted us with a warm 
smile and focused eye contact. He shook my hand firmly and gave Kathy a gentle hug. 
He was a true gentleman. Because their time is so valuable, we anticipated jumping right 
into The Business counseling. 

They both helped us feel more at ease by asking many questions about us, our 
children, and our hopes and dreams. They were extremely complimentary and went out 
of their way to make us feel good about ourselves. They showed a real interest in us and 
seemed very warm and compassionate. Zack complimented us both, specifically for not 
being overweight or heavy. Because we controlled our weight, it signified that we had the 
internal self-discipline to succeed. 

Molly said almost nothing for the next two hours, except for interjecting 
occasionally an agreement with statements that Zack had made. He once again advised 
that we were going to be big in this business, and he wanted to give us the specific 
logistics to buy our financial freedom and help me get out of my job. We waited 
anxiously for this "new" leadership level information. 

He pulled out the tool list, which is a listing of hundreds of books and tapes that 
were available for purchase. He asked me if I had heard certain tapes and read certain 
books. Zack would cringe in mock disbelief, when we would find one that I had not been 
through yet. He said, "I'm sorry, I have been holding you back. I should have told you to 
get this book a long time ago. No wonder you're not wealthy." The message was simple. 



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There was no new leadership information. The educational system of books, tapes and 
seminars was THE secret to building a profitable Amway business. It was simple! We 
just had to promote the books, tapes, and seminars better. The more educated and 
informed our group was, the more profitable they would be as well. 

A great deal of time was spent in building up our sponsors as people we could 
look to for leadership and guidance. They were edified to a level that was almost 
unrealistic. We were both at the same level in The Business as Direct Distributors. Kathy 
and I did not feel like we had an enormous amount of business knowledge and wisdom at 
this level, but Kerry and Chris were portrayed as very wise, seasoned leaders. We were 
told to promote and edify them at every opportunity, in order to give them the credibility 
they needed to work effectively in our organization. This would, in turn, only benefit us, 
as they were working to help us get free. We were working well together at this point, 
and it seemed a little odd that so much time was spent on reminding us that they were our 
upline. In any event, Zack and Molly knew more than we did about how to make this 
work, and we trusted them completely. 

Zack and Molly helped us review a goal sheet and re-emphasized the importance 
of moving more books, tapes, and seminar tickets into our organization monthly. In the 
past, distributors had been advised to stock Amway products in their homes to be able to 
supply their group on short notice. Because we had very little money, Zack advised us 
that it was more important to keep a running inventory of books, tapes, and other tools to 
sell to our Distributors. 

He shared that the secret to his success was the fact that he was willing to stock 
enough tapes and other tools to supply his group adequately. When he was a Direct, he 
had two tables almost full with stacks of tapes 12 inches high. The organizations with the 
most motivation and logistical knowledge obviously were the ones that were going to 
succeed quickly. Every business required an investment, and this was a small investment 
in comparison to the return in our future. We left their house with complete confidence 
that we had the opportunity and the ability to earn financial freedom for our family and 
others as well. 

Soon, we began to help people in our organization go Direct, and the excitement 
built, as they were recognized on stage at seminars for their achievements. At each level, 
we were advised that the big money was just around the corner at the next level. There 
was no reason to doubt this, as we were literally surrounded by wealthy people and a few 
young people that had retired. The level that people normally retired was Pearl or 
Emerald. 

"Bill Gates is responsible for helping develop 3300 millionaires, and 
then he said the number two company that has produced the most 
millionaires is the Amway Corporation. He said the Amway 
Corporation is an organization that is growing in leaps and bounds 
and they are responsible for producing over 2200 millionaires. " 

-voice mail passed on to distributors 



Jan 30* 1999 Amvox Voice mail sent to group from Zack and Molly and Dexter and Birdie 
Yager in which a distributor describes an (alleged) news report 



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Pearl was a "big money" level in Amway. We worked with a young crossline 
couple that had retired in their twenties at that level and had an incredible lifestyle. To 
accomplish the level of Pearl, a distributor had to help at least three different 
organizations do a minimum of 7500 in volume in a single month. This was a 
monumental feat to develop a part-time organization of people that mostly consume (self- 
use) 22,500 PV or over $50,000 in products in a single month! We were advised on 
multiple occasions that one young man made well over $100,000 a year as a Pearl in the 
Amway business. This was a source of enormous motivation for us. 

To go Pearl, would put you in an elite category of leadership, as somewhere less 
than 1% of all active North American Distributors ever accomplish it. At this level, 
another bonus, which was referred to as the depth bonus, kicked in. This was certainly the 
beginning of the big league of money making in the Amway business. 

I was sure all this hard work would soon bring me home with my family. I missed 
them so much. I was almost living in my car, spending countless hours building our 
business for our freedom. I would devour tape after tape on these long, lonely trips. Many 
of these tapes would speak of the freedom of being a full-time dad and having six 
Saturdays and a Sunday with your wife and children. No other business could provide 
that type of lifestyle. 

In a traditional business, the bigger it became, the more time it required to manage 
it. Most, we learned, were slaves to their own business, and the business owned them 
instead of vice versa. Many business owners we heard on tape (and eventually sponsored) 
echoed these types of frustrations. 

In the Amway business, your income was predicated upon helping others succeed 
and was leveraged by their efforts in their own business. The bigger it became, the more 
leverage you had and, in theory, the less time it took. It was the same principle that made 
Ray Kroc wealthy — by franchising and re-franchising a simple business concept that 
worked. He had helped, not hurt, many individual business owners (franchisees). Zack 
and Molly, and the other Diamonds, had helped thousands of people succeed in Amway, 
and they were financially free, as a result of this servant hood. What a blessing to be able 
to work hard for yourself for two to five years to become totally economically and time 
free. Most would not be willing to pay the price we were paying in hard work, but most 
would be shackled to jobs or businesses that would control them for a lifetime. What a 
blessing that we could help our friends as well. 

I missed Kathy so much I would cry silently at times on the long drive to 
meetings. She was the wife of my dreams, and it was so hard to be away that much. In a 
twisted way, it is my love for her that was used to keep me going out night after night to 
put an end to this marathon of a schedule. We got a cell phone to be able to check voice 
mail and leave each other messages. She would often call near midnight, when I was on 
my way home, for a 'wake up' call, to make certain I was not falling asleep at the wheel. 
She feared that I could die on the road from going so long in such an exhausted state. 

This was not an unrealistic, emotional thought. We were aware of quite a few 
accidents that resulted in broken backs or even the deaths of distributors. We had one 
friend who was involved in a late night accident, in which his wife was injured, and he bit 
his own tongue in half. This all happened during the month they were pushing hard for 
Direct. Another Emerald leader's own brother was killed in a car crash, and a great deal 
was made of the fact that when they retrieved the schedule book from his body, the next 



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two weeks were booked solid with Amway meetings. At the time, I remember thinking 
that it was a valiant manner in which to give your life. He had been doing his best for 
those he loved. Later, I would brag with other high-level leaders and compare our "asleep 
at the wheel" stories. It was a badge of courage for the fully committed road warrior. I 
had been fortunate to survive several close calls. 

The more I missed Kathy and our wonderful kids, the more driven I became to get 
the job done. Many of the speakers at seminars and on tapes spoke of putting their last 
dollar into the gas tank or into a seminar where they made the decision to get free. They, 
too, had slept in their cars. Their wives and children now looked to them as heroes in 
their own home. We often heard stories of incredible success that came shortly after a 
point of utter desperation and despair. We were guided to work through these challenges 
that were an inherent part of the success process. After all, a diamond was at one time 
just a worthless piece of coal that went through intense pressure, finally emerging as 
something of beauty and value. 

Amway Diamonds often joked about how broke they used to be. Some speakers 
told of leaving for a long-distance meeting and having to sell tapes upon their arrival just 
to get enough gas money to make it back home. We would have to do a great deal on 
faith, but there were times when I wondered if my faith would be strong enough. 

Although we were "succeeding" and being given tremendous recognition on stage 
as successes in The Business, we were making a small fraction of what we had been 
promised. If you asked your upline about money or making more income, you knew that 
the topic at the next seminar was going to be on envy or jealousy. Our Diamond advised 
us that these things came from the bowels of hell! So did gossip! We were never to talk 
cross line, because this was gossip, and as leaders, we were never to discuss our tools or 
system price breaks. 

We made the decision to do whatever it took to go Pearl. We were working 
unimaginable hours already and could not picture how we could do any more, but 
somehow we had to. We could not live like this any more. We had to go Pearl and make 
a large income, so that I could retire and be with my family. Once again, to go Pearl we 
needed to help three different people we had sponsored go Direct in a single month. Very 
few go Direct, as a percentage of distributors. To help three do it, and all in one month, 
would take some real work. Kathy and I spoke of it as we set the goal and decided to help 
not three but four of our organizations go Direct in the same month. We wanted to have a 
spare, in case one couple missed the mark and could not hit their goal. 

From that moment on, we focused entirely on what The Business was predicated 
upon, helping others succeed. We had heard many times from Zig Ziglar and our leaders, 
"If you help enough other people get what they want, you'll have everything that you 
want." Our energies were focused on helping our people set and achieve their own goals. 



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Profess It, Confess It, Possess It 

"Cults use Christian terminology, but redefine terms to suit 
their own belief and practices. "* 

Freedom was the big dream for most distributors we worked with. We talked 
about it constantly. At seminars and training sessions, we often related our dreams to 
each other, describing the joy we would feel when we handed a resignation letter to our 
boss. Some described smashing their alarm clock with a sledgehammer. Some young 
Pearls or Emeralds spoke of the day they left leaving work in either a limousine or a 
helicopter. We dreamed of having the lifestyle of six Saturdays and a Sunday. It was all 
we could think of. We had to learn to focus our mental resources in this direction. From 
the books, tapes, and seminars we learned that as humans, we could move clearly in the 
direction of our most dominant thoughts. 

If we could control our thoughts and keep them positive and focused on our 
objectives, we would succeed. Distributors were even encouraged to keep a negative jar 
in the kitchen. When the husband or wife would speak any statement with even the 
slightest hint of negative, they would have to put 50 cents in the negative jar. We were 
instructed that professing only purely positive was biblical. Diamonds would repeat the 
phrase "what-so-ever ye sayeth shall come to pass," a loose translation of Mark 1 1:23. 

To speak negatively was not only harmful, it was against God's word. The book 
What You Say is What You Get! is devoted almost exclusively to that topic. This book 
was strongly promoted and sold to members of our rapidly growing organization. 
Building the business was not easy. It was often difficult and challenging. Although I did 
not consider myself to be very spiritual, the principles we learned in this book seemed to 
help in both our business and personal life. Because I did not know the Bible very well, 
the following scriptures and the description of their real-life applications seemed very 
helpful. 

"Never Again will I confess "I can't," "I can do all things through Him 
who strengthens me" (Philippians 4: 13 NAS). 

Never Again will I confess lack, for "My God shall supply all your needs 
according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19 NAS). 

Never Again will I confess fear, for "God hath not given us a spirit of 
timidity, but of power and love and discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7 NAS). 

Never Again will I confess doubt and lack of faith, for "...God has 
allotted to each a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3 NAS). 

Never Again will I experience weakness, for "The Lord is my light and 
my salvation. Whom then shall I fear?" (Psalm 27:1 NAS) and "The 



Smith, P.W., Hayes, C. P., McRoberts, K. D., (1977) In Search of Truth. Springfield, MO: Radiant Life 



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people that know their God will display strength and take action" (Daniel 
11:32NAS). 

Never Again will I confess supremacy of Satan over my life, for "Greater 
is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4 NAS). 

Never Again will I confess defeat, for "Thanks be to God, who always 
leads us in triumph in Christ. . ." (2 Corinthians 2:14 NAS). 

Never Again will I confess lack of wisdom, for "But by His doing you are 
in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness 
and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30 NAS)." 

Not to agree with these principles is to disagree with God. The author further 
explains this: 

"We must agree with God that we have what He says we have: His 
name, His nature, His power, His authority, His love. Through His Word, 
we own these things already - but we must take possession of them by our 
spoken words. We possess what we confess. Like Joshua and Caleb, we 
are the rightful owners of what God has already given us in His Word - 
but we have to take possession of our "promised land" by faith. " 

It was exciting to learn these principles. We got into this business simply to make 
extra money, and now even our spiritual life was benefiting. It amazed us that people 
criticized the Amway business and its leaders. These were the godliest people I had ever 
personally known. It was no wonder that they are so successful. They were living by 
and applying God's laws, weren't they? We taught these principles not only to members 
of our organization, but to our children as well. Our children were not allowed to say the 
word "can't." In challenging situations, they learned to say, "I'll try." Kathy and I were 
even becoming better parents, as a result of the business. We were both very thankful to 
learn godly principles that we could teach to our children. 

An event was about to occur that would forever alter the direction of our lives. 
Our sponsors, Kerry and Chris, spoke often of freedom. We had met Pearls, Emeralds, 
and Diamonds that had developed extraordinary lifestyles with their Amway businesses. 
Zack and Molly lived a life that was beyond description. They seemed to travel the world 
at will. We had not seen anyone that we knew personally come up through the ranks and 
retire young. Kerry and Chris were Profit Sharing Direct Amway distributors the day he 
called me. I will never forget it. Kerry called and said he had some incredible news. He 
shared with me that he had retired from his job. Zack had not only given his permission 
for this, he had helped craft Kerry's resignation letter to a tyrannical boss. 

Kerry certainly did not leave quietly. He went out in blazing glory. He had 
planned his exit carefully with Zack. From his description, Kerry had worked for a 
terrible boss who had asked him to do things that were unethical. Kerry had an arrogant 
streak at times, and there was no love lost between him and his boss. Kerry gave no 



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notice and simply did not show up for an important staff meeting. He let his boss 
frantically page him several times. 

Eventually, he showed up at the staff meeting, which was already in progress, and 
interrupted his boss. He handed his boss his resignation letter and a gift. The man did not 
know what was happening and asked to discuss it with Kerry later. Kerry insisted that he 
read the letter immediately, in front of the rest of the staff. From what we were told, it 
was far from complimentary. Kerry then insisted that his boss open his gift, which turned 
out to be a gift-wrapped copy of the book How to Win Friends and Influence People . 
This story was repeated again and again to the glee of distributors, working hard to obtain 
their freedom. 

This was another crossroads in my life. As Kerry told me the story, my heart 
began to race. I can tell you the exact tiles I was standing on in our kitchen when I got 
this call. My life was changed forever in a moment. I had no idea you could make enough 
money as a Direct in Amway to retire! I vowed to work at an almost inhuman pace to get 
my freedom. There were no excuses now. We had living, breathing proof that this 
business was working. Kerry soon began speaking often of the joys of freedom. He talked 
about sleeping in and having the whole day with his family. He had obtained the lifestyle 
of six Saturdays and a Sunday; we had until then only heard of. Now it was real. 

He would later go on to buy a gorgeous white Mercedes SL from Zack. No one 
would ever again tell me that this did not work or that there was no money in Amway. If 
we could just do what they had done, we could be together every day as a family! Kathy 
and I were elated and energized by these events. Kerry was incredibly loyal to Zack and 
became more so as time went on. All we had to do was remain loyal to the business be 
teachable, and our dreams were soon to be realized. 



"On encountering a cultist, then, always remember that you 
are dealing with a person who is familiar with Christian 
terminology, and who has carefully redefined it to fit the 
system of thought he or she now embraces." 

- Dr. Walter Martin ' 



What You Say is What You Get!, Don Gossett 



' Martin, Walter, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, Oct. 1997 Anniversary Edition, p. 30. 



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CHAPTER 5 



Going for Broke 



"Helping people to help themselves is what Amway and 
Easter Seals are all about. Amway's independent business 
owners are united in their goals and dreams by the Amway 
business opportunity. " 

- Jim Williams, President & CEO National Easter Seal Society' 



It was around the sixteenth of the month when Kathy and I set our new plan in 
motion to have not three, but four leaders go Direct in our downline. We never discussed 
our objective with our downline leaders, as our focus was to help them bring their own 
businesses to the next level. We helped each leader set goals with each of their key 
people. I met with one couple, Keith and Linda, late on a weeknight; we set their goal 
with them, and we prayed together that God would bless them and guide their efforts. 

Within just a few days, nearly everyone in the organization had a goal that was his 
or her own. This focus electrified the group with energy and direction. We all put on our 
track shoes, so to speak, and ran hard every night and weekend to help all our people 
achieve their objectives. It was a thrilling time, as one distributor after another called with 
the news that they had hit their goal and were going to be recognized on stage at the next 
seminar at 1000, 2500, or 4,000 PV. 

On the last day of the month, after all the orders were totaled, four different 
organizations (referred to as "legs") had gone Direct! We had never heard of anyone 
breaking in four Directs in a single month. That was thrilling! The organization that we 
had developed had just done over 30,000 PV, which was somewhere near $70,000 in one 
month! We were new Pearl Directs and could almost taste the freedom for which we had 
worked so hard. 

No one in the group knew our own goal had been met as our focus had been on 
their goals. Of course, because of the rules regarding cross lining, they would not know 
that each other had gone Direct until the awards ceremony. Oddly enough, this was even 
true of close friends or co-workers. You were never to discuss any details of your 
business. It would be economic suicide to do this, or so the experienced leadership in our 
upline had taught us. Therefore, the success of our entire organization was almost a 
secret, which Kathy and I joyfully shared only with each other. Our freedom and family 
time were just about in sight now! 

Because of the no crosslining policy, the general recognition for each of our 
people would come at the next seminar. That event finally arrived; couple after couple 
came proudly across stage and were congratulated publicly for their efforts. It was a 
wonderful celebration. This was another aspect of The Business that made us so proud to 



Jim Williams, President & CEO National Easter Seal Society, April 1999 Amagram 



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be part of it. People were built up and their accomplishments celebrated. In the corporate 
world, a promotion usually resulted in hidden jealousies and behind- the -back sniping, 
because only one person could get the raise. Here, not only was success unlimited, but the 
more others succeeded, the easier it was for you to succeed. This came about because of 
the credibility built into each new success story, as one couple after another moved across 
the stage. It wasn't socialism, but instead, it was a wonderful win/win cooperative effort, 
where you determined your success by the amount you helped others. 

All the new Directs, wearing corsages and boutonnieres, were brought onstage to 
the theme of a loud Rocky soundtrack. The crowd of hundreds went nuts. They began 
clapping and chanting, "Fired up! Fired up! Fired up! " The people in the audience now 
had their belief level elevated, as they saw others they personally knew beginning to 
succeed. Nothing inspires confidence quite like success! The host commented 
something to the effect that "it looks like Amway works here... " to the crowd's glee and 
burgeoning enthusiasm. In their own way, each couple looked like Ken and Barbie. The 
men wore freshly pressed suits, and the wives all looked like queens in the new dresses 
they had purchased just for this occasion. They all seemed closely bonded as couples and 
also as a group by the experience. There was camaraderie and a respect among those who 
had paid the same price to move ahead. 

As if our pride in them had not made this exciting enough, what happened next 
thrust us into a world that we were not prepared for. We were brought on stage as brand- 
new Pearl Directs, and the crowd went wild. This was the big timel The standing ovation 
and yelling seemed like it would never end. The triumphant music track blared on loudly, 
as people ran forward to take pictures of us. Men hugged their wives closely and 
whispered promises in their ears. You could see the excitement, belief, and hope on all 
their faces and in their eyes. Some of the women cried. Every man wanted to make his 
wife queen for a day, and every woman wanted to feel that special. Kathy was my queen, 
and I was so proud of all the work that she had done to help us succeed. She had become 
a literal wonder woman to pull it all off. This congratulatory experience bonded our lives 
together, and we felt even closer than before. 

We were once again thankful that God was using us to inspire others to better 
their lives. We were allowed to speak for a few minutes. As we had heard many others 
do, we praised our upline and gave credit to them and the system for our success. 



"Is This the Big-Time or What?" 

"But you look at this business... Where there is people 
praying for you, loving you, hugging you, encouraging you. In 
what other business would the people care?" 

- Amway Crown Jody Victor ' 

The next step was a big one. We bought a tuxedo and gown to wear on stage for 
the larger seminars. It wasn't long before we were being invited to do full-day seminars 



' Jody Victor, It's Unbelievable, Stock No. DBR 897 



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as Pearls. This was incredible to us! Once, we had been brand-new, awestruck 
distributors, attending our own first seminar. Now, we were the speakers at the all-day 
seminars. 

At the Pearl level and above, there was an almost cult-like hero status. Weeks 
prior to a seminar, Kathy and I began receiving many cards and letters from those who 
would be in attendance. These came from a diverse group including truck drivers, 
physicians, single mothers and many, many others. Most notes were brief, but some folks 
poured out their hearts to us, even though we had never met them. Almost everyone 
spoke of being thankful for our time and looked forward to having us share our wisdom 
with them. Both their upline and the system had taught them all very well. It is of 
paramount importance for distributors to be thankful for their leaders' time. 

The organization was constantly reminded that the leaders speaking onstage had 
willingly chosen to take a day away from their own business and their family to "help" 
them. Many spoke of this duty as their only way to give back to the system that had given 
so much to them. Tapes were made of the speeches that Kathy and I had given. Our 
enthusiasm made us a very popular drawing card for our upline. We would later learn that 
Zack was marketing thousands upon thousands of our tapes both domestically and 
internationally. 

We received two letters in one month from distributors in our ever-growing 
organization to thank us for giving them hope. Both letters shared about how they had 
been on the verge of suicide before coming into our organization. Being in The Business 
and hearing us speak gave them hope for the future. We felt humbled that God would be 
using us to serve His people. How could we feel anything but gratitude for such a 
mission. 

Our organization began to grow exponentially. We now had monthly open 
(recruitment) meetings at a local hotel. Normally, a Pearl, Emerald, or Diamond would 
come in to do this presentation. This gave The Business more credibility as young, 
"retired" speakers rotated through our town. We had to travel almost two hours to the 
monthly seminar early on. Now that we were pulling large numbers out, the seminar was 
moved to our city. We had to rent out the local high school auditorium or another large 
hall to accommodate the growing crowd of distributors. 

In light of the results we were getting, we were afforded the opportunity to 
counsel more and more with Zack and Molly. We discussed these letters with them and 
Molly told us that she and Zack received letters like that almost constantly. This further 
fueled our desire to become Diamonds. We would more positively impact an even larger 
group of people. Zack was very clear in letting us know that we were now more 
accountable to God than we had ever been. It was a powerful responsibility that we 
needed to take very seriously. Now, we fully understood why there was a prayer before 
every seminar and training session. We were God's messengers. The Business was just a 
vehicle we used to improve people's finances, while we reached them for Christ. It was a 
bait and switch situation, but in a good sense. 

Many speakers spoke of being "tricked" into getting into The Business to make 
money. Now they said their finances were great, they had a closer walk with the Lord, 
they were better parents and had a strong, loving marriage, all as a result of the teachings 
in The Business. They joked about what a terrible trick we [upline] played on people. 
This was described as one of the main reasons why Amway and Amway distributors 



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received criticism and bad press. Whenever God was going to use people to do His will 
or something good, Satan would do all in his power to try to destroy the efforts. We had 
to stick together, stay faithful to the system and our upline, and not think negative 
thoughts. Optimism and positive thought came from God. Fear and doubt come from the 
depths of Hell itself. 

To doubt was a sign of weakness and demonstrated a lack of faith. For our own 
benefit, we were trained to shut these thoughts out immediately upon recognizing them. 
Leaders throughout the system spent a great deal of time training us to program our 
subconscious mind with positive affirmations. Satan wanted us to doubt and not reach 
more people for God. He would make us feel too tired or lonely when we were away 
from our families. He would tempt us to quit just before we achieved the Diamond level 
and won the ultimate victory for the ones that we loved the most. All of this was 
happening on one level of our lives. On another deeper level, I felt as though things were 
falling apart. Oddly enough, the doubts rushed in a few weeks after that moment of our 
first great success in achieving the Pearl level 

I was tired and frustrated with myself. Things just weren't adding up, and it was 
harder and harder to banish those negative thoughts. Here we were at a level that very 
few distributors ever reached, doing an enormous monthly volume, but only making a 
small fraction of what we had been told to expect. Exhausted from that last month's 
efforts, we hoped that our first Pearl check would bring the promised rewards. 
Meanwhile, we continued at a pace beyond belief, and we did not complain. 

During the month we had gone Pearl, our organization moved somewhere near 
$70,000 in goods and services in a one-month period. This was where "the big money" 
was to kick in. At this point, a new bonus, referred to as a depth bonus was added. Zack 
had reminded us that this would be our biggest income source. We could not wait to get 
the check that month. With tremendous enthusiasm, we carried the mail in to our kitchen 
and opened the envelope together. 

We were shocked at what we saw. Our huge depth bonus for doing nearly 
$70,000 or more in volume was (if my memory is correct,) exactly $64 dollars. There 
were other bonuses that we received for that volume that brought our income for the 
month near $2,000, but we were crestfallen. 

We had worked incredibly hard to get to this point. How were the other Pearls 
making over $100,000 annually and retiring? Because of the rules regarding cross lining, 
that was a dangerous question to ask. It was a dangerous question to even think. From 
all the representations we had heard for years, we had anticipated making $80-100,000 at 
this level. Combined, Kathy and I were involved in business activities and, combined, 
were working well over 100 hours many weeks just in The Business. I also hadn't yet 
been able to quit my job, so we were physically stretched to the max. There just weren't 
enough hours in the day. We were doing tens of thousands of dollars in monthly volume, 
but our income after expenses was not $80,000 or $100,000. It was closer to $20,000 for 
a superhuman, all-consuming effort. When you figured it out as a per-hour wage, with the 
taxes we had to pay, we'd be better off flipping burgers at McDonalds. 

We knew from all we had been taught that we were the problem. There was 
success all around us. Again and again in leadership meetings, Amway Diamonds would 
mock the "idiots" who complained about not making enough money. Like taped 
messages the slogans ran through my mind: 



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"Who is in charge of changing your income?" 

"Be a man. " 

"You can make excuses or money but not both. " 

"A real man gets out of debt. " 

"A real man solves the money problem. " 

"A real man focuses on his business and doesn 't concern himself with the 
business or income of another. " 

"A real man keeps his wife home to enjoy her freedom. " 

"If you don 't like your income, look in the mirror. " 

"We are all paid on the same schedule. " 

I cannot tell you how many times I heard this type of message. . . 

This is the purest form of capitalism and free enterprise on the 
planet. We are all paid the same based upon performance, not skin 
color or office politics. If you don't like your income, go perform. 
You are morally obligated to your group to make a lot of money to 
build their belief. You are an example and only you can decide if it 
is to be a good one or a bad one. Don't you love your wife enough 
to get the job done? Somebody is taking his or her kids to Disney 
World this week, why not you? I don't think they would hate you 
for taking them there. Back yourself in a corner where you have to 
perform and tell your kids when you are going. Faith is seeing and 
believing in the unseen. How will your children ever learn to have 
faith if they never see you step out and proclaim it? Be a leader. It 
is what America needs the most. America needs men who are men, 
not wimps but leaders who can lead. You can be that great 
husband, father and leader that your wife, your children, your 
church, your community, your country and your God needs. 



Believe me, the propaganda and moral blackmail were very effective. We were 
taught that if we were concerning ourselves with the success or income of another, it was 
no wonder that we were not making what we wanted to make. According to the 
teachings, it must be that my focus and my heart were all wrong. Jealousy and envy do 
not come from God. They were tools the devil used to distract us from our own victory. 
Someone that concerned himself with the income of another would never make much 
himself, due to that character flaw. It was socialism to want to have something that 
someone else has earned. Socialism has never worked in a single country, because it 
steals the incentive from the producer. We were instructed that Socialism only worked in 
theory, on the liberal college campuses, where misguided philosophers taught it. Here, 



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when you produced, you reaped the harvest. It was not like a job where someone else 
controlled your income. You were in complete control and should be both elated and 
thankful to have unlimited opportunity to live your dreams. 

I felt so conflicted. Here, we were being held up as heroes and successes on stage 
at large seminars. Tapes of our seminars were being made and sold by the thousands. 
Inside, I felt like such a failure, because my income did not match what we were told 
other Pearls were making. I really felt like we were living a double life. Something was 
missing. I read many of the faith books promoted and sold by our upline. Books by 
Robert Schuller and Norman Vincent Peale made me think that I had to strengthen my 
faith to truly succeed in all areas of life. At a large Dream Weekend seminar for Amway 
distributors, there was an emotional Sunday service that ended with an altar call. 
Hundreds began to move forward. I wanted to go up, but at the same time, I felt 
paralyzed by fear. 

At the last minute, I left my seat and went forward and recommitted my life to 
Christ. I was working so hard but something was wrong, because I seemed to be the only 
person not making a strong income to help my family. From the indoctrination, I believed 
that I had a spiritual problem: a lack of true faith that was blocking me from being the 
husband, father and provider that I was called to be. 

This was to be the first of several trips I made to the altar over the next few years. 
Each experience was more emotional than the last. I felt completely drained, not knowing 
why I was not succeeding. I was desperate to find the solution. Surely, God would hear 
my prayers. I was spending far more time serving His people than with my own family. 



Running with the Big Dogs 

Cult characteristic - "Despite the claim for honesty there is 
use of intimidation or deception on both members and 
outsiders... despite the claim for openness, there is secrecy." 

- John Ankerberg and John Weldon ' 

The training or indoctrination at the Pearl level became far more intense and 
demanding. None of us at this level questioned anything. By this point, most of us had 
unknowingly lost all ability to utilize critical thinking. As a leader at this level, you had to 
be completely in line philosophically with your upline. No dissension was allowed. We 
began to hear horror stories of Pearls, Emeralds, and even Diamonds who had lost it all 
and even had jobs now. They had all gotten their ego out of control and thought they 
knew more than their upline. They were not team players. Some had decided to cross line 
and counsel each other. We were told that some former Diamonds wanted to serve 
alcohol at the seminars. 

Alcohol use was taboo with this group, as was smoking. Very few leaders 
smoked, and you would never see one consuming alcohol. There seemed to be a very 



' Ankerberg and Weldon, Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, Harvest House (Eugene, Oregon), 1999, p. xxiv. 



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high moral standard set in most areas. The alcohol prohibition did not bother Kathy or 
me, because we were not drinkers. We might share one or two bottles of wine in a year. I 
would not have more than a six-pack of beer in the same time frame. The only time I 
would have one was on the rare occasion that we met with friends outside of Amway. I 
would not purchase it but would have a beer socially, if offered. It did not seem like a big 
deal to either Kathy or me. We rarely spoke of it, but we both resented what were to 
become more frequent invasions of our upline's rules into what had been our private life. 
This was just a business. 

We were told of some former Diamonds that were now broke and working jobs. 
They had broken another "rule" of success. Some of them weren't real men and listened 
to their wives "bitching" and complaining. It was a paradox. On stage, men were 
implored to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Christ loved the church so much 
that He gave His very life for it. However, in person at high-level leadership 'men-only' 
meetings, we were directed not to listen to our wife's complaints. We needed to be strong 
enough to overlook their feelings for now, and they would certainly thank us for it later. 
If you loved your wife, you would listen to your upline instead of her and provide well 
for her. She would be thankful later that she was married to a real man, not a wimp. I 
would not recognize this skillful manipulation of loyalties and values until far too late. 

Some former Diamonds, we were told, had committed the ultimate sin of 
disloyalty to their upline. Zack told us how years ago, he had had a group of Diamonds 
that got together and decided that they knew more than Dexter. They represented a large 
portion of Zack's organization and came to his house for a meeting. They had decided to 
split off from Dexter and create their own system of seminars, etc. They told Zack his 
choice was to come with them or lose most of his organization, or so we were told. He 
remained loyal to Dexter, and they did their own thing. Eventually, they lost nearly their 
entire organization and now had jobs (the ultimate degradation). Zack told us, with a 
smile, that they could have their own Dream Weekend now in a phone booth. We all got 
a good laugh out of their stupidity and could not understand how they could be disloyal to 
an upline who had helped them so much. 

High-level leaders were also told that these former Diamonds weren't really ever 
leaders. Their upline had built almost all of their organization and had allowed them to 
take credit for it. Since they were not the builders, their businesses died when removed 
from the Yager system and the influence of a seasoned upline team. Disharmony and egos 
out of control had cost thousands of people their futures, as this organization fell apart. 
We had to stick together, in line with our upline, as many futures beyond our own were at 
stake. Zack had a global organization and was a multimillionaire, because he remained 
loyal to Dexter. He advised me personally that he made over a million dollars a year. One 
hundred per cent unquestioning loyalty, he taught, was a non-negotiable element of 
success. 

Zack and I spent more and more time together, as our organization became a 
good-sized percentage of his enormous business. Zack had slowly begun to replace the 
other men in my life, becoming a father figure to me. In fact, I wrote Molly and Zack a 
letter telling them that he was the father I had always needed. He guided me and 
counseled me. More than anything, I wanted to go Diamond to make him proud of me. 
No one wants to let his father down. Several other men at leadership levels expressed this 
same bond. Molly related that many men had told her that Zack had become their "father 



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figure." I was so thankful to have him as a mentor and coach. I wanted to emulate him 
perfectly by being the perfect family man, husband, father, son, and loving servant to 
many. 

Those of us, who were Zack's protegees, studied his every gesture and mannerism 
and could do his presentation and teaching sessions almost identically. Perfect 
duplication meant perfect results. This whole business was predicated upon the theory 
that 'if you do what I do, you'll have what I have.' I would tell the same jokes with the 
same verbal inflections and facial and hand gestures. I had listened to his tapes so many 
times that we would joke that I would open my mouth and Zack would come out. I 
handled challenges exactly as he would with principles he had taught. 

I kept telling myself that it was exciting to be part of something great that was 
making a difference in the lives of others. To have successful Christian mentors was the 
icing on the cake. Zack and Molly had helped many become wealthy. We just needed to 
stop doubting and questioning in our own minds and submit fully to their leadership. 
After all, one routinely reinforced principle was this: Your upline can never make any 
money unless they first helped you to succeed. It had to be a win/win scenario. They 
would never give you bad advice, because it would hurt them and their business as well. 
One typical analogy that was utilized to reinforce this was that of a financial planner. The 
philosophy touted went something like this: 

They (financial planners) are not paid on the quality of their advice but based 
upon selling you something regardless of results. If they were truly wealthy and 
understood financial principles they certainly would not be at your house trying to sell 
you something. The Diamonds had mastered financial success. You can only learn from 
someone who has done what you want to do. A man with experience is never at the mercy 
of a man with an opinion. 

One more "perk" of being at the Pearl level was that we were able to attend high- 
level leadership meetings with the Diamonds. Usually the first night of a large weekend 
seminar, there was a Pearl and Emerald meeting with all the local Diamonds, and those 
brought in to speak. As Pearls, we were often assigned the duty of hosting these visiting 
Diamonds. We were to dress very well and pick them up at the airport in a limousine. By 
now, Zack and another Diamond in his organization had purchased their own limousines 
for this purpose. We were to greet visiting Diamonds at the airport, carry their luggage, 
and get the doors for them. They literally were treated like visiting dignitaries. We felt 
proud to be part of an organization that showed that much respect for others. 

As hosts, our responsibility was to make them feel welcome and to attend to their 
needs for the weekend. Part of this included getting them to the backstage area ahead of 
time, so that Zack could greet them and brief them on what he wanted them to speak 
about. 

Another duty was to get them to the Pearl and Emerald meeting, which took place 
after the normal seminar and often went until 1:00 in the morning or later. Usually, we 
were all physically shot by then, but were thankful, despite being extremely tired, to be 
around the leadership. Once again, Zack would often give visiting speakers very specific 
coaching as to what to emphasize at this leadership level. The talks here were normally 
very hardcore and nothing that the general populace of the organization would hear. We 



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were told at this level that we would have to work at least six and seven days a week to 
get the job done. Too many people were counting on us to succeed for us not to do 
exactly that. 

At these late night to early morning leadership meetings, the Diamonds spoke of 
the incredible lifestyle that they and their families shared, since making the decision at 
Pearl and Emerald to "give it all they had" and move on to Diamond. They spoke of now 
retiring their parents and taking them on incredible cruises or trips to Hawaii. Some 
spoke of buying homes and cars for their parents, and one spoke of funding an 
orphanage. 

There was a whole new performance standard expected here. One hundred 
percent total commitment was the only acceptable example we could reflect as leaders, 
particularly if we wanted to stay on the speaking schedule for seminars. As Pearls, we 
were paid $600 for doing a seminar, and this extra income certainly helped out. The most 
important aspect of speaking at these events was the fact that you were clearly 
acknowledged as being part of the "plugged in" leadership. This gave you more 
credibility when you went to work within your own organization. People were very 
excited to invite their friends to a house meeting that I was doing, if they had just seen 
Kathy and me speak at a seminar to hundreds or thousands of people. 

On three separate occasions, different Diamonds taught us how to keep our hectic 
and chaotic nonstop schedules from our organizations. The justification was that we were 
working this hard by choice, and they would never have to if they did not personally 
decide to do it. Zack himself said that we should never let our group see our schedule 
book, because it might scare the average distributor, who did not yet have a big enough 
dream or understand the big picture. Another Amway Diamond advised us to be like 
ducks going across a pond. They are calm, collected, and effortless on the surface and are 
paddling like mad underneath. 

Another one of Zack's Diamonds advised us on how to make lifestyle 
representations. He instructed us to do things like golf one morning and then talk about it 
for a month. This gave the impression that you were golfing constantly and would 
motivate the golfers in the organization that wanted time to play. After all, most of the 
people in these leadership meetings were "retired" from their jobs. If they chose to work 
their business day and night, it was their option. No one else had to work that schedule. 



Movin' on Up! 

The process of edification or building up was taught and reinforced over and over 
to entry-level distributors. Showing proper respect to upline was required of leaders. 
Distributors were taught always to be both thankful and respectful of their upline's time. 
We should even buy gas for our upline when we were out together to demonstrate our 
respect for their time. We were expected to buy our upline's meals as well. The reason 
given for this was the fact that you would benefit more from this time together than they 
would. The analogy used was this: "when a broke guy and a wealthy guy get together and 
talk, who will benefit the most?" 

We accepted this as simply showing respect for mentors. Distributors were 
reminded constantly that their upline could be with his family or anywhere else in his 



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organization but chose to 'invest' his or her time in you. We never saw Amway Double 
Diamonds Zack and Molly buy a single meal of their own in the nearly ten years we were 
in business with them. When Kathy and I hosted seminars, we had the speakers' cars 
taken out and cleaned while they were on stage. We would also send their children a 
bouquet of balloons to thank them for loaning us their mom and dad for a day. It seemed 
comforting to be part of an organization that showed such a high level of respect for 
people. 

A strange shift began to occur after we went Pearl. People in our own 
organization began to treat us very differently. These were not just faces in a crowd or 
people that we knew casually or from stage. Our closest friends began to treat us in an 
unusual manner. It was with a reverence that made us uncomfortable. It was not anything 
like the near-worship given the Diamond-level distributors; yet, it was similar in nature. 
People that had been like family to us now made certain to tell us how thankful they were 
for any time we would share with them. They became even more anxious to "counsel" 
with us. 

They always took special care to be on time and insisted on buying us soda, 
coffee, and our meals when we were out together. They began to share more intimate 
details of their lives and struggles with us. People outside of our organization did the 
same. Many knew us from stage and from the seminars we had started doing, and others 
knew us because our tapes had gone out to thousands on the "tape of the week" program. 
Distributors, from as far away as Canada, called to tell us they had been inspired by our 
example. We had a friend who had a distributor from England call to tell him the same 
thing. This building up seemed more like "deification," and we had became the recipients 
of the adulation. 

It made us very uncomfortable, as this hero system gave distributors an almost 
cultish respect for leaders and an unquenchable thirst and desire to become one of them. 
We soon had business people, surgeons, pastors, an anesthesiologist and many others 
wanting to get advice or counsel from us. There was a sudden perception that we had 
more wisdom than we actually did. Indeed, we had read and studied an enormous amount 
of the system materials regarding time management, communication skills, goal setting, 
and motivation. We had begun to accomplish levels in the business that a very small 
percentage of distributors achieve, despite tremendous effort. 

The bottom line was the fact that we were just a hardworking couple in our late 
twenties, and we did not yet have a great deal of life experience. We would later have 
professionals willing to take a day off work to spend a few hours receiving our counsel. 
Strangers would walk up to us in airports and greet us. Although the recognition initially 
made us feel a little uncomfortable, we felt good about what we were accomplishing, and 
it certainly fueled the motivation in our organization. Fame and recognition were never 
our motivation, so they quickly grew old. We were somewhat private people and began to 
feel like we were living in a fishbowl. 

We counseled more frequently with Zack and Molly and were now invited to 
what was considered the Mecca for distributors. As I said before, we were invited 
[attendance was mandatory] to the Pearl/Emerald/Diamond leadership meetings. Here we 
began to meet and develop relationships with those we had once only admired from a 
distance. We were now able to learn directly from these millionaires and millionaire 
makers. These were couples that we had come to respect and emulate. The work that we 



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had done to achieve this level was incredible. Having shared similar challenges to get to 
this point gave us all an esprit de corps. There was an incredible sense of camaraderie 
and mutual respect to be one of the few who made it this far. 

We received a warm welcome from this group, the inner circle. We were told that 
over $100 million dollars of Amway's annual volume was generated through this small 
group of Zack's leaders. These were the best of the best. The leaders at this level were 
very family-and- faith-oriented and spoke often of our business as fulfilling the great 
commission to reach others for God. Many often quoted Scripture. They were always 
impeccably dressed and appeared extremely wealthy. The real motivator for us was that 
they had each helped many, many others succeed as a prerequisite for their own personal 
success. The greatest servants had become the greatest leaders, and we were among them. 
Prodding at us in the background was our very real desire to be well-paid servants. We 
had yet to see much of the promised income. 

Therefore, the wealth that the Amway Diamonds openly displayed put us off and 
motivated us at the same time. The Amway Diamond-level distributors had an enormous 
amount of jewelry, particularly diamond jewelry. This was a visible outward sign of their 
economic success and symbolic of their achievement of the Diamond level in the Amway 
business. Most Emerald-level distributors wore diamonds. Coming into the business, I 
did not think it was a manly thing to wear diamond rings. It certainly had not been a goal 
of mine, but in The Business, it was a symbol of manhood. It was a symbol of servant- 
hood. It symbolized reaching your full potential for your God, your family, and the 
people in your organization that you loved. 

The high-level distributors would often take off their diamonds and other jewelry 
and pass them around for us to try on. Molly had a six-carat diamond ring, and Zack 
sported a ten-carat ring. We were told that it was a nearly perfect investment grade stone 
valued at over $100,000. He also sported a presidential Rolex with a face, bezel, and 
band nearly completely diamond encrusted. Molly had a large collection of gowns, shoes, 
and furs. Zack often spoke of getting into The Business, wanting to have a good car, and 
at one point owning over a million dollars in vehicles alone. They lived in what was 
described as a 10,000 square foot home, appraised at over a million dollars. It had been 
purchased from a non-believer. (Speakers would teach us from stage that God made these 
sorts of things for His kids, not Satan's.) It was very important to know that there was no 
mortgage on this home or on any of the other homes that Zack and Molly owned. If we 
just followed the principles we were taught, we too would one day live debt free and 
stress free. What a joy that would be for us! 

The gaudy or ostentatious displays of wealth motivated me in that again and again 
it demonstrated that this business worked. It was not necessary for me to have worked as 
a Federal Government Auditor to document that Amway worked and worked in a big 
way for those willing to put in the effort and take it seriously. We saw the evidence all 
around us. 

Zack and Molly were not an aberration. We were beginning to meet many, many 
Diamond couples who all spoke of the same incredible lifestyle. Some even had lifestyle 
videos made professionally that were available to sell to our distributors to help "build 
the dream." They were a source of tremendous motivation and encouragement to us all. 
Building this business was not an easy thing to do and required an enormous amount of 
physical, mental, and spiritual perseverance. When people from "the outside" told us that 



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there was no money in Amway, we thought they were idiots. Some would even tell us 
that they never knew anyone that made money in Amway; yet, we knew of well over a 
hundred millionaires. Some would say that it was a small percentage that ever succeed, 
and I would ask them how many people, where they worked, retired in their thirties and 
became wealthy. The answer was always 'none.' Here, in this business, we were 
repeatedly told there was a "100% success rate" for those who plugged into the system 
and did the work. 

One fundamental principle taught in The Business, as a requirement for success, 
was the ability to 'dream build.' This was one habit that our upline exposed us to on a 
regular basis until it became our own. Family, security and time together were nearly our 
sole motivations upon entering the Amway business. These remained intact, but others 
were systematically added as time progressed. One of Dexter Yager's, oft-repeated 
quotes was, "When the dream is big enough, the facts don't count." The dream, as 
defined by the system and our upline, could not be just freedom or family time. It had to 
be something physical or tangible. We had to experience what was out there to know why 
we were working so hard. 

We never had an interest in owning a Cadillac; yet that was the car that leaders 
were expected to drive. We began to take them out and test drive them and soon needed 
one. This was not just a comfortable car to buy. Again, it was an outward display of 
loyalty, success, and manhood. After counseling with our upline, we got an inexpensive, 
older used model, and it motivated our group tremendously. Soon, each of them needed 
one. Many went Direct and eventually ended up purchasing Cadillacs or Mercedes. 

On one occasion, Molly took Kathy and other leaders out to a furrier. Many tried 
on minks. Kathy had never worn a mink, but the picture they took of her wearing a 
beautiful white and brown trimmed full-length fur that matched her dark-blonde hair 
perfectly gave us a new goal. She looked like a princess in it and said it felt incredible. 
Male distributors were often told that they didn't have to get a fur for their wife. We 
were encouraged to remember that their efforts at work bought a fur... just for the boss's 
wife or that of a stockholder. That old question haunted me: "Who do you love more?" I 
began to hate my employer and wanted desperately to succeed in my business to provide 
these things for Kathy, as opposed to someone else's wife. 

Zack took me for a ride in his newly purchased Ferrari. It was appropriately 
Ferrari Red and handled well even on country roads. He and I went out in his turbo diesel 
Mercedes SDL and other assorted Mercedes in his personal fleet of luxury cars. After one 
counseling session, just Zack and I went out in his Prevost coach. Distributors were told 
it was worth over half a million dollars. 

I had never been in a home that had an interior as nice as this coach. It was a 
luxury coach and had marble floors, a mirrored ceiling, and indirect lighting. We spent 
some time in his limousine as well. One of his more flashy acquisitions was a 
Lamborghini Diablo. Those cars cost well over $100,000 and literally stop traffic with 
their sleek design. All the while we were together, he would counsel me and give me a 
combination of business, personal, spiritual, and financial advice. 

Much of the advice he would give me would tie back into a scripture relating to 
faith or servant hood. He would jokingly describe his purchase of luxury vehicles, homes, 
and resort-like properties as minor purchases. Minor purchases were defined as purchases 
that you could write a check for; major purchases required a loan from the bank. To some 



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people, buying a refrigerator was a major purchase. To Zack, buying a private island was 
a minor purchase. There was no money stress in his life. What I wouldn't give to have 
Kathy live like that! 

I felt incredibly blessed to have someone this successful mentor me. It was as if I 
owned a new McDonald's restaurant and had founder Ray Kroc to mentor and coach me. 
Success was inevitable. No one was willing to work as hard as I would work! I was 
coached to laugh at people that told me this business did not work. Such critical people 
usually slaved away for an oppressive boss, who controlled both their time and income. 
What morons! My entire perspective and fundamental beliefs had begun to change 
dramatically. Kathy and I were thankful for having been enlightened and rescued from a 
lifetime of employment slavery. We were going to become wealthy and spend all day and 
every day together. 

If we could just work a little harder, I could retire from my job and begin life as a 
full-time dad. Thank God! That was the dominant thought that kept me going. Kathy and 
I were both so tired and were now used to living in a nearly exhausted state from lack of 
sleep. I remember barely being able to concentrate at work from being nearly brain dead 
after days with minimal sleep. On one occasion, I was on the telephone in the office at 
work, waiting on hold, and I remember thinking they'd better speak loudly when they get 
on the line, because I was going to sleep. I stared at my computer screen and drifted off 
until a voice on the line startled me back to consciousness. 

This was not uncommon for a leader. Amway Superstar Diamond Randy Haugen 
related the story of being in a management meeting at work, falling asleep, and actually 
rolling out of his seat onto the floor. It got to the point where I pushed myself so hard I 
continued to drive until I hallucinated for the first time. I was driving home from an out- 
of-town house meeting at about 3:00 AM on a weeknight and had almost made it home. 
The exhaustion was catching up to me, but home was only a quarter mile away. 

Suddenly, before me in the middle of the road was the back end of an elephant 
that I was about to slam into at full speed. I stood on the brakes with both feet and 
skidded to a screeching, violent stop. In my now fully awake state, I realized that the gray 
elephant I had slammed into was actually a thick bank of fog that looked solid in my 
headlights. I went home a little shaken but more determined than ever. It never felt so 
good to kiss my sleeping children and Kathy goodnight, as I collapsed into bed for a few 
precious hours of sleep before work. I knew that I just had to quit my job soon. 

As leaders, we were getting counseled to build The Business seven days a week. 
In a private session with Zack and Molly, this directive was strongly reinforced. Kathy 
did not like the fact that I worked on Sundays. That was almost our only family time, if I 
was home. Zack counseled Kathy for almost an hour on getting over this "challenge" in 
one counseling session. We were told repeatedly that all we had to do to make $100,000 a 
year was to go Emerald. Get the job done. No excuses! IF you were a distributor that was 
not happy with your income, you were advised to look in the mirror to find the person 
controlling it. This wasn't like a job where you could blame your situation on your boss, 
office politics, or the economy. This was the "purest form of free enterprise." 

We continued to 'dream build,' as we were encouraged to do, by going through 
luxury homes and driving expensive cars. However, the one thing Kathy and I 
desperately longed for was time together as a family. It was all I could think about all day 
long. I had to do more to retire. A real man got his freedom. 



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What's Your Goal? 

"I figured it out folks. If this business didn't work, I would 
know by now. I would have figured it out. This business 
works and in a big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big, way." 

- Amway Crown Jody Victor, ' 

"Freedom" was the one big dream for which most of the distributors in our 
organization toiled many hours. At the profit-sharing level, most of the women in our 
organization retired from their jobs. Some were picked up in limousines for their last day 
of work. This was a tremendous source of motivation for the working moms in our group. 
The Business promoted the idea that it was stupid for a woman to have a career, whether 
she had children or not. At a Directs' meeting, Birdie Yager referred to any job-holding 
woman in the room as an "idiot!" Such women could be helping their husbands build a 
multi-million dollar business but instead choose to build equity in their employer's 
business. It showed a woman's lack of belief in both her own business and in her 
husband. If you do not believe in your business, how did you expect your downline to 
believe in it? There was tremendous system and upline pressure to "fire your boss!" 
Distributors were advised to actually write their resignation letter, no matter what their 
current financial condition. They were not to give it to anyone but to read it daily to stay 
focused. You moved in the direction of your most dominant thought. Distributors were 
led to chant things like "Freedom!" "Freedom!" or "I'm going Diamond" again and 
again late at night at seminars. 

We studied the system and taught its principles well. We became very adept at 
getting distributors to visualize, using all their senses, what their last day of work would 
be like. They took tremendous joy in visualizing the look on their boss's face when they 
handed in their resignation letter. They were often told to plan on sending him half a post 
card from Hawaii and writing on it "you never could see the whole picture." We helped 
them visualize the limousine pulling up in front of their workplace to whisk them off to 
freedom and family. They would imagine the look on the face of their stupid brother in- 
law (the one who had told them that Amway didn't work). 

Revenge against those who had laughed at you was a motive that was repeatedly 
reinforced. One Amway Diamond spoke of having his luxury coach polished to tow his 
Rolls Royce to a high school reunion, to the glee of the audience in attendance. Zack 
spoke of having his driver take him in his limousine to school to straighten out a teacher 
who had maligned his son. Power and revenge seemed to be forces that the Diamonds 
enjoyed dwelling on. 

Another Diamond related the story of a friend who had laughed at him and said, 
"Come back when you get rich in Amway." He drove to his friend's place of business 
and leaned on the horn, then got out of the car, and leaned on the emblem of his newly 
purchased Mercedes. His friend came out and said something to the effect of "Oh my 



Jody Victor, It's Unbelievable Stock No. DBR 897 copyright unknown 



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God, you're rich!" The crowd exploded into applause with a vicarious sense of victory 
and retribution. 

By this point, Kathy and I did not only want to be free. We had to be free! It was 
all we lived for. Beginning at the leadership level of Direct, there was tremendous 
pressure to leave your job and "walk the beaches of the world" with the people you 
loved. Believe me, this sounded better and better the harder we worked. 



"...four components of mind control: 1.) Behavior control (2.) 
thought control (3.) emotional control; and (4.) information 
control." 

- Dr Walter Martin' 



Martin, Walter, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, Oct. 1997 Anniversary Edition, p. 49. 



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CHAPTER 6 



The Dawning 
of a New Day 



"In Compassionate Capitalism, Rich DeVos tells you how 
you can make your dreams come true by centering your life in 
love of God and country and an authentic desire to help 
others." 

- Robert Schuller ' 



The pressure to retire from this nonstop, exhaustive schedule was intense. It 
literally was a matter of survival at that point. I could not go on much longer on this little 
sleep. It was only a matter of time until I had an accident. Distributors were told to cut 
out all distractions from their lives. Any distractions could keep you from becoming a 
Diamond. If it took you even one more year to go Diamond than it should have, this 
delay would have cost you $250,000 or more. Distributors were told to cancel their cable 
TV. Some were actually advised to sell their TVs to raise money to attend seminars. 

There were other distractions that could hold you back. Distributors were 
informed that having any "plan B" constituted a lack of faith. Specifically, if you had 
investments or another business to fall back on, you must not believe in your heart that 
you could become a Diamond. Before the large bull market hit, distributors were told that 
somewhere near "97%" of investors lose money in the stock market. We did not know 
otherwise, and by that time, we were nearly totally isolated from outside sources of 
information. Zack stated on multiple occasions that he and Dexter did not have any other 
investments outside of their Amway businesses until they each went Double Diamond. 
They could not afford to be distracted. 

The credibility and financial magnitude of the business continued to grow. Robert 
Schuller, the famed founder and Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral Church in Garden Grove, 
California, and the host of the Hour of Power television ministry, was the author of many 
books that we bought and sold in the system. His books reinforced the principles of the 
system helped change my life in a manner that I perceived to be good. Life's Not Fair, but 
God Is Good; Move Ahead With Possibility Thinking; Tough Times Never Last, but 
Tough People Do and Self Love. 

Pastor Schuller shared at one of our large seminars that had many thousands in 
attendance. He spoke, both on and offstage, of Amway and its leaders with great respect 
and admiration. "I want to say what an honor it is for me to be at such a great assembly of 
one of the greatest organizations ever conceived on planet earth... to give everybody a 



DeVos, Rich, Compassionate Capitalism (Endorsement by Robert Schuler) 



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chance to make it. I think the world of the Amway Corporation," he said, "I have been a 
friend of Jay VanAndel and Rich DeVos almost from the time they started this 
business." 1 

As leaders, we got to spend some personal time with Pastor Schuller backstage. 
He was very tall and very gentle. It was such a thrill to be able to meet some of our real- 
life heroes. These were the kind of people we wanted to model ourselves after. He had 
made a difference for God by serving many others. We felt so fortunate to be part of this 
incredible organization. There seemed to be an unending number of confirmations that 
we were at the right place at the right time. 

Author, researcher, and lecturer Shad Helmstetter published a third letter, touting 
Amway 's virtues and promoting his web site to distributors. His web site was and is a 
forum to promote the success story of Amway and its distributor force. On this web site, 
which can be located at www.firedup.org , distributors can review his American Victory 
letters, learn about his seminars, and read success stories of others like themselves. It 
gave our efforts more credibility, because he was an outsider. On the site, he published an 
interview of himself regarding Amway. 



"The Shad Helmstetter Interview: 
The Real Story of Today's Amway 



Dr. Shad Helmstetter is the author of nine best-selling books. He is 
respected worldwide as a leading authority in the field of personal growth. 
His books are published in more than 64 countries around the world. 

Dr. Helmstetter has been a repeat guest on Oprah Winfrey, ABC, NBC, 
CBS, and CNN News. He has been featured on over 1200 radio and 
television interviews in every major city in the United States. 

Dr. Helmstetter spent more than five years studying the Amway business 
as an outside, independent researcher. He is not endorsed, paid, or 
financially remunerated by or associated with the Amway Corporation or 
any of its affiliates. The following comments are based on Dr. 
Helmstetter's independent research and are entirely his own. . . . 



Q: You have been one of the most outspoken public supporters of 
Amway Distributors. Why is that? 

SH: In my field I study people who work at improving their lives. I spent 
more than five years studying Amway Distributors, and I was 
impressed with what I found. 

Most Amway Distributors are people who are trying to do something 
worthwhile with their lives. They understand positive values, they 
support marriage and families, they're willing to dream and they take 



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their dreams seriously, they work hard to reach their goals, and they 
believe in helping other people do better. 

Amway Distributors are the families who live next door to us. They 
are people who are trying to keep their kids off drugs, make their 
marriages work, improve their lives, and take responsibility for 
themselves. They also tend to be positive and hardworking. 

That's the kind of attitude that gave this country its freedom in the 
first place. How can you possibly criticize that? 

Q: Then why do some people criticize them? 

SH: For the same three reasons most people criticize someone else for 
doing something different than they are — they criticize other people 
because of their own prejudice, ignorance, or misinformation. And 
that's unfortunate, because people who criticize others, without 
knowing the truth, can hurt a lot of good people. 

Q: What would you say is the greatest problem that Amway 
Distributors have to overcome? 

SH: The first problem is that many people are either uninformed or 
misinformed about the Amway business. If I could wave my wand 
and make every false rumor go away, people would suddenly be 
calling their distributor friends and asking them if they could join 
them in the business. By the way, I predict that will happen. The 
overriding positive facts about the business are becoming public 
knowledge. 

The second problem is that anyone who wants to get ahead — in 
anything — has to stay motivated. Motivation is often a problem for 
any of us because it's human nature for people to let the day-to-day 
problems of their lives get them down. I've spoken and written a lot 
about that in the past, and with this web site I've decided to offer a 
more direct form of help to people who could use some additional 
motivation from time to time. 

I often send personal motivational messages via e-mail to people I 
believe in. That kind of uplift can really make a difference. Now, 
anyone who is reading this site can participate, and I will send them 
personal e-mail encouragement and motivation on a regular basis. 

Q: Some critics say that some Amway Distributors sell dreams. 
What would you say to that? Are they dream builders? 



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SH: The distributors aren't selling dreams, they're encouraging people to 
be willing to dream. That's important! That's something everyone 
needs to do! 

As I wrote in The Achiever's Bill of Rights, people who aren't 
dreaming aren't growing. Without dreams we go nowhere. With the 
ability to dream, there's no telling what we can do! 

Look at the facts; our nation was founded on dreams. Marriages are 
built on dreams. The day you start college, you start with a dream. 
Every new idea, every invention, every improvement you and I 
enjoy right now, started with a dream. Name one thing that makes 
your life better, and if you research it, you'll discover that it started 
with a dream. 

No one who is truly a quality person will ever question your 
dreams — people of quality encourage your dreams. They know that 
if you do not dream, you cannot really live. 

Q: What about the old criticism from years ago that said Amway 
was a cult? 

SH: Working in the field of human behavior, I've studied the cults for 
many years. The Amway business is the opposite of cult psychology. 
As an example, cults practice a system of separating their members 
from their families and friends. Amway is the opposite. The basic 
concept behind Amway Distributors is designed to build stronger 
relationships, not weaken them. 

As another example, cults always control what their members are 
told. Once again, Amway does the opposite. As a case in point, I 
have been asked to speak to dozens of Amway audiences, but never 
once have I been asked by anyone, in advance, what I was going to 
say. 

The old myth that Amway is a cult is supported only by people who 
are either misinformed or uninformed. I would like to examine their 
research. Amway Distributors are independent; they are building 
their individual lives, and they are working freely to build better 
lives for themselves, their families, and their futures. That's not a 
cult; that's America. 

Q: What about the sometimes criticism that Amway Distributors 
have to invest in business materials and they have to attend 
meetings and seminars, in order to succeed in the business? 

SH: That shouldn't be a criticism, that should be a salute to good business 
sense! The fact is that Amway Distributors do not have to buy 



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training materials and they do not have to attend training seminars 
and business functions. But I have studied their business "tools" and 
I've attended their seminars and functions. The bottom line is that, on 
average, Amway Distributor business support materials are superior 
to most of the training and motivational tools that are available from 
many of the top corporations in the US today. 

When was the last time your company offered you training and 
motivational materials that got your family involved and excited 
about what you were doing? My outside recommendation is that 
distributors should take advantage of every tool they have access to, 
and attend every business function available to them. The point is 
not how much of an investment they will make. The point is how 
much value they place on improving the rest of their lives. 

Q: What about the people who say the Amway business doesn't, or 
can't, work? 

SH: If there is anyone who is willing to say the Amway business can't 
work, I'd like to see his research. During the past five years, I've 
interviewed, met, or talked to more Amway Distributors than any 
other researcher living today. 

The fact is, for people who apply themselves and apply the plan, the 
business works. What critics of the business ignore is that the 
business is successful because it works at different levels for 
different people. 

Some people just want to be surrounded by friends and associates 
who think like they do. Some people want to earn some extra 
income, but not treat the business like a full-time job. Some people 
want to quit their regular jobs and build a full-time business. And of 
course, there are those men and women who want to create long- 
term financial independence. 

I've met a lot of people in every one of those categories, and 
according to them, not only does the business work, it has added to 
their lives in many positive ways. Why would so many good, solid, 
intelligent people stay in the Amway business for ten, fifteen, twenty 
years or more, and say that it's the best thing that ever happened to 
them? 

Think about that. And why would so many second and third 
generations of independent sons and daughters of experienced 
Amway Distributors follow in their parents' and their grandparents' 
footsteps and choose the Amway business for themselves? 

The only answer is, because it works — it meets the needs of a lot of 
different people, and it helps them grow. 



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(EDITOR'S NOTE: See Fired-up! Letters on this site, for individual 
distributors' comments.) 

Editor's note: Dr. Helmstetter's comments are presented in The 
Helmstetter Report without approval, support, or 
endorsement of the Amway Corporation or any of its 
affiliates. His comments are entirely his own." 2 



These comments helped to reinforce all the beliefs we had about Amway and our 
chosen career as distributors. We were impacting the world for the better. It was powerful 
to feel as if you were part of a strong, positive organization that could eventually impact 
world peace. There was camaraderie among distributors everywhere we went. We all 
understood one another. Mr. Helmstetter's comment on Amway not being a cult was 
helpful as well. 

We would, on occasion, run into a prospect or family member of a distributor who 
thought Amway was a cult. Amway a cult? That was the most moronic thing I had ever 
heard. I could not even understand why someone would say something so stupid. Here is 
a business where people open every seminar with a prayer and a pledge to the flag. I had 
never been around more godly people of integrity. These people, particularly the Amway 
Diamonds, worked tirelessly as servants to their organizations to help them succeed. Here 
we have former Presidents of the United States and key religious figures endorsing 
Amway with glowing praise, and some nuts want to call us a cult. It was ludicrous, but it 
is a fact that this topic came up on occasion. (Several years later, I myself would have to 
spend days with a renowned cult expert and over a year in recovery to begin to be 
deprogrammed from my involvement in an Amway motivational cult.) 

We were taught how to address this issue. In one leadership training, Zack spoke 
on this subject. He mocked anyone stupid enough to even repeat something this foolish. 
He explained that in a cult, everyone does what the leader says to do. If that were the 
case, we would all be rich! We all laughed and took the point well. If we all could follow 
his direction more closely, we would be wealthy. In spite of the automatic cultic 
response, I could not comprehend why someone would even mention cultism. It must be 
some perception of Amway from 20 years ago that followed it around like an urban 
legend of sorts. We were constantly reminded that the average person would criticize 
above average achievement to justify his or her own laziness and lack of success. 

The media was routinely blasted as an enemy of sorts. We learned, and later 
taught our group that the media was a business. What sells, the truth or the sensational? 
Sensationalism sells, even if it is completely devoid of all truth. The media, with its 
liberal slant, was an effective, powerful tool in destroying the efforts of conservatives, 
who wanted to make this country a better place for our children's future. Key players in 
the media were often maligned as idiots. 

In one talk, Geraldo was referred to as Geronimo, Rikki Lake was called Wikki 
Wake and Oprah was called Dope-rah. These derisive terms were ones that I would later 
repeat, as I taught large organizations around the East Coast on the evils of the media. We 



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needed to control our psychological environment. Our minds were very much like a 
computer - garbage in, garbage out. We move in the direction of our most dominant 
thought, so we had to control what we thought about on a regular basis. This is why the 
system was so vital in keeping us focused. We needed to listen to at least one tape every 
day. 

We could never afford to miss a monthly seminar, even after nearly a decade in 
the business. Your group would duplicate what you would do. The entire organization 
was constantly reminded to follow and work with their plugged in upline. Plugged in is a 
reference used to describe a distributor who was completely loyal to the system in 
listening to the tapes, reading approved books, attending all functions and in line with his 
upline. There was no room for ego here. If you missed a seminar, someone in your 
organization could later duplicate your bad example. Not a good idea! 

No leader would ever miss a monthly seminar for any reason. The standing joke 
was, the only legitimate reason you could ever miss a seminar was for a death in the 
family or... your own. As a matter of fact, in a talk about commitment, Zack related the 
story of Arnold Schwarzenegger missing his own father's funeral, because he had a very 
important competition he had prepared for. His mother understood his dedication and 
now was now proud, as Arnold was a hero who could provide well for her. Winners 
instinctively understand total commitment and losers question it and make excuses. 



Getting with the Party Line 

"Some of the greatest growth experiences is when we were 
late with our mortgage payment because we were covering 
our orders. We didn't understand it at that time. We thought, 
"Hey we're not covering our mortgage payment, we're 
covering our orders. What's this all about?" I'd rather owe the 
bank than my upline. I'd rather not ever, ever have my upline 
unhappy with me." 

- Amway Crown Jody Victor ' 

Kathy and I had worked hard before our Amway involvement to accumulate some 
rental units to build equity for a retirement nest egg. We were only in our twenties but 
knew we had to begin to plan and invest early in life. However, we eventually became 
convinced that these properties were simply a distraction that would keep us from 
becoming financially free. The many Amway millionaire Diamonds could not all be 
wrong. They, too, had dumped all distractions and focused solely on what would give 
them the greatest return on investment (Amway). Many repeated the same basic 
philosophy in their own way. Once again, they had the lifestyle to back up the success of 
this business principle. I was a "broke" guy with a few rental properties and a lot of 
ambition. We soon sold these properties and used this money to pay off all of our debts. 

Outside of our mortgage, we were debt free. We had paid off our car loans, 



Jody Victor, It's Unbelievable, Stock No. DBR 987 



87 



college loans, credit cards, and consumer debts. We certainly were now getting closer to 
our freedom! The magical day was approaching. I'll never forget the excitement I had 
when I went into our bedroom, closed the door, and called Zack for his permission to 
retire from my job. Zack is a very detail oriented man. We discussed my current income 
from my profession, my Amway income as a Pearl, our monthly expenses, the number of 
distributors we had personally sponsored, the total number of distributors in our group on 
the tape-of-the-week program, and the number we had attending monthly seminars. I will 
never forget the excitement I felt when he told me I could retire from my job. I was going 
to be a full-time dad! He had me schedule it so that he and Molly could come and speak 
at my retirement party. 

I hung up the phone and let out a yell that Kathy heard at the other end of the 
house. We had both worked so incredibly hard to get to this point. We were Pearls on the 
way to becoming Emerald. We were not making a very large income as Pearls but had 
almost no debt, and soon we were going to be making well over $100,000 as new 
Emeralds! We could hardly contain our excitement. I typed up my resignation letter 
dated September 25, 1992. I gave my employer over one month's notice and made 
arrangements to part on good terms. This gave us plenty of time to plan my retirement 
party. 

Our family was finally happy. This was the moment that we all had worked so 
hard and so long for. Even our children had sacrificed for this moment. They had learned 
not to ask for any product that did not come from our business. They were willing to eat 
off-brand, Amway-purchased cereal that they did not like. They had learned to eat 
vitamins from Amway that they hated taking. Our son Josh had become accustomed to 
my almost complete absence from the home. He and our young daughter Ashley were 
good little troopers and almost never complained. They knew that it was going to be 
worth it. We were going to play baseball together, go on picnics, and travel as a family 
now. My resignation was to be effective October 30, 1992. Each day seemed to be an 
eternity, as we all anxiously anticipated the arrival of my actual retirement date. 

Word got out and the group seemed to be as electrified by this event as did our 
own family. The dream was real! We had heard this phrase again and again at seminars 
and on tapes. Our distributor force was energized by the clear belief that each of them 
could earn his or her own freedom. They were literally as excited as Kathy and I were. 
That was the beauty of this business. Success breeds success. In the normal corporate 
business world, if one person succeeds, it is because he took the place that, now, no 
others could fill. In our business, the more people succeeded, the easier it was for those 
who followed to succeed. No one in our organization, to this point, had been willing to 
work as hard as we did. Now, many were both motivated and had the faith to go do 
whatever it took to get the job done. 

We began making plans for the big celebration. A large hall was rented, as Zack 
and Molly were coming to speak at our retirement dinner. A limousine was rented to 
pick me up at work on my last day. I had pictured this scene in my mind's eye 1000 
times, during all those lonely, late nights driving home from meetings. Thank God, I was 
finally going to be able to get some sleep. I missed my beautiful wife so much. What a 
blessing it was going to be, to be able to spend time together! This was all going to have 
been worth it. 

It was our hope that this event would not bring glory or light upon us but that it 



89 



would shed light to our group on the incredible possibilities that their own futures held. 
We were going to press on to Emerald and then Diamond and bless thousands in the 
process, just as Zack and Molly had. This was like a fairy-tale dream come true. I felt 
sorry for those poor, misinformed people, who had criticized our participation in this 
great business. They were relegated to a lifetime of servitude to an employer, who would 
forever control both their time and their income. 

We could hardly sleep on the night before my last day at the large, insurance 
company where I worked. Kathy and I felt like kids at Christmas. An incredible, 
wonderful life was about to begin in the next 24 hours. 

We woke early, hearing this enormous commotion outside of our home at about 
5:00 a.m. It was a surprise party, being thrown by a whole group of our distributors. We 
quickly got dressed and went downstairs and talked about freedom. We watched videos 
of trips to places like Hawaii and Australia. All the distributors there had, in their own 
minds, a clear vision of what their freedom was going to be like. 

The big goal of more sleep was a huge motivator for many of us that were driving 
ourselves to near exhaustion. We videotaped an event that would later be described to 
thousands of distributors. My alarm clock was put on an extension cord and placed on a 
stump in our back yard. The alarm was set and the camera zoomed in as it went off. As it 
sounded its annoying wake-up call, I hit it with a single blast from a shotgun that a 
distributor had brought for the occasion. The clock literally vanished. Playing this tape 
and recounting the story would bring cheers from crowds of distributors, who all were 
visualizing their day of freedom. This was a powerful, symbolic act that I had dreamed of 
for years. 

I went to work as usual. My coworkers were very kind and gave me a small 
going away party with gifts and a card that I treasured. I worked in a very large glass 
building. I knew that the limousine must have arrived when I looked up from my desk 
and saw about 50 people pressed against the windows on one side of the building. I 
quickly changed into my tuxedo and began to walk from my desk towards my family and 
the freedom we had fought so hard for. One wonderful surprise was the reaction of my 
coworkers. Understand that it was not easy for them to see someone my age retiring and 
walking out to a waiting limousine. As I walked from my desk towards the door, like a 
scene out of a movie, they each slowly stood up and began clapping. Some had made fun 
of us for being in Amway. Now they were willing to cheer for our victory. I was 
overwhelmed by their kind response. 

As I walked nearer to the door, I could see out the second story window down to 
the parking lot area. It was an incredible sight. There was a large white limousine and a 
huge number of our friends, all holding large helium filled red, white and blue balloons. 
The sight literally took my breath away. I walked down the stairway and took a moment 
to compose myself. A loud cheer went out from the group, as I walked out of the building 
towards the parking lot. Video cameras were rolling everywhere. Someone opened the 
limousine door and out stepped Kathy, looking more beautiful than I had ever seen her 
before. She was absolutely radiant. She was holding Josh's hand and carrying our 
daughter Ashley. The large crowd parted in the middle to make way for them. Josh 
broke free from Kathy's gentle grasp and ran to me with a bear-hug tackle that literally 
knocked me over. Someone yelled, "Free at last, John!" Someone else set off fireworks, 
and the crowd simultaneously released their freedom-colored balloons into the waiting 



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powder-blue sky. People were laughing, giving hugs and high fives to each other and to 
us. Many eyes were filled with tears of joy. This was truly a miraculous day. We got into 
the limousine and pulled out of my place of employment for the last time. Dad was going 
home. I was a free man — or so I thought. 

A parade of our Direct distributors and others in Cadillacs followed us to our 
home for a celebration party. Every moment of the day was recorded on video, so that we 
could use this spectacular event as a motivational tool to help others realize the unlimited 
potential in this wonderful business. It was clear that God had honored the desires of our 
hearts, as we saw not only our own lives, but also the lives of our many friends 
transformed that day. 

Kathy did not know it, but I had a very special surprise prepared for early that 
evening. We celebrated with all of our friends. All of our friends were, by now, only 
people in The Business. We enjoyed a great party that, of course, did not have any 
alcohol. Alcohol was for people that had no hope. We shared tremendous hope and an 
unlimited future. None of us had a need to dull our senses. One by one, each of our 
friends eventually left the party. What Kathy did not know was that they were all 
reuniting at another location for one of the most important moments in our married life. 

I had told Kathy that a couple in our group was having their baby baptized that 
night. We dressed for the occasion and headed over to our church with Josh and Ashley. 
Kathy was pregnant with our third child, McKenzie, at the time. She looked beautiful. 
Both sides of the street were nearly filled with cars parked top to bottom, but we found a 
parking spot and headed quickly toward the steps of our church, as it looked as if we 
were late. I reached down and grasped the brass door handle, my heart pounding, and I 
opened the door for Kathy. 

The church was completely filled with all of our friends and family. 
Unbeknownst to Kathy, they were all gathered there to share in our re-exchanging of our 
wedding vows. We were beginning a whole new life together and wanted to do so in the 
presence of God and all those we loved. It was an incredible moment in time. Here we 
were surrounded by a large group of people, where each seemed like a member of our 
family. We stood together at the same altar where we had originally exchanged our 
wedding vows. This time Kathy and I held each other's hand and the little hands of our 
children. 

It had all been worth it. It was incredible to tearfully and emotionally re-affirm 
our love for one another. What a blessing it was to know that we would now be able to 
spend each day together. It was hard to believe that all our dreams were finally coming 
true. We felt very fortunate and blessed. This certainly was the happiest day of our lives. 
It is difficult to even describe the euphoric feeling that we shared as we nearly floated 
from the altar down the aisle to our new life. 



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Just Exactly Who Are You Anyway? 

"Amway is an equal opportunity for everyone in this room 
regardless of what your background may be." 

- Dick. DeVos ' 

We were soon enjoying the fruits of our newfound freedom. It was incredible to 
be able to sleep until we were both rested. What a concept! We had both gone on very 
little sleep for years. It was a true joy to begin to spend time together as a family. We had 
missed each other so much in the years that I had worked both day and night. It actually 
felt odd to not be completely exhausted. It was wonderful for Kathy to have me home, 
and she was no longer single-handedly taking care of our entire household. 

The training that we had received and continued to absorb in the Amway system 
was powerful, in several ways. We had developed very strong interpersonal and 
management skills. We had become effective motivators. We had become good time and 
money managers. We have learned to seek out and see the solution in every challenge. 
As a matter of fact, we learned that there were no problems, only challenges. Challenges 
were simply opportunities for greater personal growth. We had trained our minds by now 
to instinctively block out nearly all negative thoughts. Our spiritual beliefs and faith grew 
in tandem with the above skill sets. 

We received very specific training on how to identify and motivate each of the 
different personality types. A company named Personality Insights, Inc. was brought in to 
help train distributors in recognizing, communicating with, and motivating each of the 
four personality types. We were reminded that a carpenter has many tools within his 
toolbox and that each tool is effective for a different use. He would not use a hammer to 
do the job of a saw. Likewise, you would not attempt to communicate a message to two 
entirely different people in the same manner, using the same "tool." Personality Insights, 
Inc. broke down the four personality types into a model they referred to as DISC. 

The "D" personality type is known for being strong, dominant, task oriented, and 
decisive. They tend to be very businesslike and to the point. They do not enjoy 
socializing too much or wasting time on anything frivolous. With this personality type, 
we needed to be very quick and to the point if we were to sponsor them. 

The "I" personality type is highly social. They are extremely friendly and not 
often detail oriented. They tend to be both emotional and enthusiastic. They enjoy 
having a lot of fun and being around a group that is full of positive energy. They tend to 
be the life of the party. Their weakness is that they can often lose focus on objectives. 
This personality type makes friends quickly and can often make others feel very 
comfortable. 

The "S" personality type is extremely people oriented and somewhat reserved. 
They are very concerned with stability and have a strong aversion to risk. This type of 
personality responds well to a very friendly, logistical approach. This group may tend to 
be followers and want to feel as if they belong to part of a group. They want to discuss 
things like credibility and long-term benefits. They're not very concerned with having a 
good time but will be open to developing a close personal friendship over time. They 



Amway Special Guest Speakers D. DeVos, B. Kerkstra Stock No. GDL 96-21 



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need very full, specific explanations to their questions. 

The "C" personality type is extremely detail and task oriented and not very social. 
They will respond to a very conservative, patient approach. A "hard sell" will not work 
with them. This group tends to be extremely analytical and looks for specific, accurate 
answers. Quality and value are of the utmost importance to them. They, too, have an 
aversion to risk. This group will not respond well to a hyped-up presentation. 

Below are "True Motivational Statements for Each Type" 3 from a resource 
purchased at a seminar for Amway distributors. The directions on how to utilize these 
statements effectively in motivating and influencing either the "D", "I", "S", or C" 
personality are as follows: 

The words we choose when speaking to others can have either a 
motivating or demotivating result. You can pick "positive phrases" that 
appeal strongly and predictably to specific personality styles. Using such 
phrases creates a feeling that you understand what is especially important 
to your prospect. Here are some suggestions that are both motivational 
and true. You may find them helpful as you think about sharing our 
Business opportunity: 

"I can tell it's important for you to be in control of your life, 
isn't it?" 



You can be in control of your life in this business! 

You can make this plan work for you! 

You will get credit for what you do in this business! 

In just a few minutes, you can demonstrate the practical 

advantages of this business. 

This is something you can call your own. 

This plan sells itself! 

It is about opportunity of a lifetime. 

You are on the cutting edge of where all business is headed. 

It's great to be your own boss! 

In this business, the advantages far outweigh any disadvantages." 



'I can tell you really enjoy being around good people, don't 
you?" 



The people you'll meet in this business are great! 

There is no end to the exciting, new products/tools you can use. 

Our meetings are a lot of fun. 

You have the opportunity to travel and Go places in this business. 

We have several weekends that are incredible. . . and life changing. 



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• You'll learn everything you wish they had taught you in school. 

• With your entrepreneurial spirit, these ideas are a great 
combination for future success. There are lots of product choices - 
there is something for everyone! 

I can tell you would like to expand what you are presently doing. 
You can "captain" your own team. 

"It's important to you to be involved with people who care 
about people, isn't it?" 



Many people have found this to be a very reliable system. 

I'll help you every step of the way. 

I'll be available for you. 

You can come along with me, and I'll show you what to do. 

There are many options - we want to find what's right for you. 

This is how others have become successful - we follow their lead. 

These methods have been proven over and over. 

It's real "security" for your family. 

Your steadiness will work well. 

You'll make and keep new friends for life in this business. 



"If you were going to involve yourself in a project, you 
would want it to be legal and moral and ethical, wouldn't 
you?" 



Your decisions today will minimize your risk in the future. 

This program's high standards "shine" under careful evaluation. 

Many people have already proven this system's effectiveness. 

This system will succeed for years to come, based on past 

experience. 

We are expanding while other businesses are cutting back. 

You are in a position to examine the facts and clearly see the 

obvious benefits. 

A company this successful must be doing many things right. 

We're committed to the highest standards of business ethics. 

We guarantee our quality. 

Our success is documented." 4 



We received this personality-type training from Dr. Rohm, who onstage was a 
charismatic, humorous, brilliant educator. Offstage, he revealed himself as a very kind, 



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compassionate, Christian businessman. We essentially attended to all his needs for a 
weekend, and he was a joy to work with. Dr. Rohm brought tremendous credibility to 
The Business and its related system of success. His open praises of the system and its 
success were extremely powerful, because he was an outsider with a great deal of 
business acumen. The fact that he was very well known in Christian leadership was icing 
on the cake. 



Direct Contact 

"We don't care what your faith is. We don't care if you claim 
to have not faith. Build the business... you'll... change to what 
God wants you to be." 

- Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager ' 

As Pearls, we began to have direct contact with Dexter and Birdie Yager at high- 
level leadership meetings once or twice a year. Spending any time with Dexter and 
Birdie was the Amway business equivalent of going to Mecca. We knew that they had 
helped hundreds of people become millionaires and multi-millionaires in the Amway 
business. We were advised that they had helped thousands of people go Direct that were 
not even in their own organization. Because of the incredible success of the Yager 
System, many outside of his organization had requested permission to plug into his system 
of books, tapes, and seminars. While Dexter had actually helped thousands go Direct in 
other organizations, he never received a penny for it — or so we were informed. 

This type of story was repeated often and reminded us of how fortunate we were 
to be part of his organization and teachings. Distributors were told that Dexter was the 
most successful distributor not only in Amway, but also in the global history of all 
multilevel marketing businesses. The percentages changed at times, but a common 
representation was that as much as 90 percent of Amway 's multibillion-dollar revenues 
came from Dexter's Amway distributorship. We were truly at the right place at the right 
time. 

Once a year, Zack and Molly would have Dexter and Birdie come in and speak at 
a large "Yager Spectacular" seminar for thousands of distributors. Zack was a multi- 
millionaire but remained humble and always stressed his total loyalty to Dexter. Zack 
told us often how important it was that he still counseled with Dexter. He was making a 
million dollars a year and still sought wise counsel. If Zack did this at his level, we all 
certainly needed to counsel with him on a regular basis. Dexter was often referred to as 
the master teacher. 

Kathy and I were very excited about our first high-level leadership meeting with 
Dexter. Zack began what we would come to know as a ritual about a month before 
Dexter spoke. Zack explained that not everyone understood Dexter, because he was so 
incredibly intelligent and successful. It was described as difficult for Dexter to come 



Dexter & Birdie Yager Stock No. FED 94-12 Copyright Internet Services Corporation 



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down and speak on a level that the average guy may understand. Consequently, he was 
often misunderstood. One frequently used anecdote that kept people from questioning 
Dexter was this. As Zack often told the story, some broke guy was questioning why 
Dexter was wearing a polka-dot shirt in his picture in the Profiles of Success. 

To agree with or even acknowledge a comment like that would be de-edifying to 
Dexter. Zack told the guy that polka-dot shirts were in style at Dexter's income level. He 
told the broke guy that Dexter owned several hundred apartments like the one he lived in, 
so he would not expect him to understand the style that Dexter had been accustomed to. 
Another common phrase was used if anyone questioned the fact that Dexter sported a 
beard. Facial hair was another taboo in Amway. No leaders were permitted to have facial 
hair. If others questioned Dexter's beard, we were to tell them that when they were as 
big in the business as he is, they could grow a beard too. 

The bottom line is that anyone who questioned upline, but particularly Dexter, 
had to be either stupid, broke, or both. We heard these stories repeated again and again 
every time Dexter was about to join us. We had been well indoctrinated by then. We had 
listened to over 1000 hours of tapes and seminars. We questioned almost nothing by this 
point and were amazed that anyone would even think to question someone as successful 
as Dexter. After all, he was a great Christian servant who had succeeded only as a result 
of helping others succeed all over the world. 

The big day of our first leadership meeting with Dexter soon came. Our sponsors, 
Kerry and Chris, had gone Pearl and had gotten to the meeting just before us. They sat 
right in the front row. None of the four of us had any conception of what we were in for. 
As it turns out, you never sit in the front row at a meeting with Dexter. You never knew 
what was going to happen, as Kerry and Chris were soon to discover. Thank God, Kathy 
and I sat in the second or third row from the front. 

Zack warmed up the group of about 30 Pearls, Emeralds, and Diamonds. He was 
very solemn and almost reverent as he spoke of Dexter and his undying loyalty to him. 
Experienced distributors around us chuckled at the fact that our sponsors had sat in the 
front row and advised us that it was going to be a long night. We thought that was great. 
The more time we got to spend with Dexter, the better. After all, he was a millionaire 
maker and could be anywhere in the world right now but had chosen to be with us. 

Dexter started to speak at about 10 p.m. that night. It was exciting, as he was 
warm and friendly. He seemed very at ease and spoke to us with compassion, almost as a 
father would to his children. But we soon moved into an area of his talk that I could only 
describe as bizarre. He began to speak of the many, many steady girlfriends he had had in 
high school. I think the highest number of steady girlfriends that we heard about was 100. 
He began to tell stories about his childhood and then more stories about girlfriends. These 
accounts seemed to go on endlessly with no point. 

I looked around and people were smiling and nodding, and some were actually 
taking notes. What could they possibly be writing down? From the atmosphere in the 
room, it was obvious that he was a very powerful man. There was almost a sense of fear 
present, or at least a feeling that went well beyond normal respect. Somewhere after 
midnight, Dexter stood directly in front of Kerry and Chris and looked at Chris closely. 
He bent over and stuck his face right in front of Kerry's and asked him if Chris was his 
wife. The room went silent. None of us knew what was coming next. Dexter commented 
that Chris was attractive and got eyeball to eyeball with Kerry and asked if he could kiss 



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her. 

You could have heard a pin drop. Time seemed to stop as Kerry hesitated to 
answer. We did not know what the correct answer was. Would it demonstrate loyalty to 
let Dexter kiss your wife? The tension in the room was electric. The silence seemed to go 
on forever, as Kerry seemed to begin to perspire. Kerry finally blurted out, "No!" and the 
room went silent again. Dexter acknowledged that Kerry had given the right answer, and 
we all breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Dexter then went off on some long tangent about 
respect or love or commitment. Who knows? It was now nearly 2 a.m., and he was still 
droning on about nonsense. Our eyes were rolling up in our heads. 

We were all struggling to stay awake. There were no notes that he worked from, 
and it was often difficult to even identify the topic in your own minds. However, we 
knew better than to question this in either public or private. Zack closed the meeting and 
reminded us how fortunate we had been and hoped we had all grasped "the message." We 
were too tired to even begin to wonder if there had been a message. We just wanted to 
surrender ourselves to the pillows in our hotel room as soon as possible. Several years 
later, I learned about the effects of deliberate sleep deprivation, in which the senseless 
seems to make sense, and the bizarre becomes acceptable. 

Dexter himself seemed to possess an unusual mixture of bizarre idiosyncrasies 
and credibility. He told of having Ronald Reagan speak at the seminars. He spent a great 
deal of time talking about the occasions when former presidents had had the opportunity 
to meet him. He often spoke of the presidential tie tack that former president George 
Bush had given him. It was surprising to hear how well connected Dexter and many other 
of the high-level Amway distributors were. Dexter spent a great deal of time talking 
about religion and his ultraconservative political agenda. 

He seemed incredibly hardcore in most of his beliefs. We were soon to learn 
exactly why Zack had prepared us psychologically not to question Dexter. We later 
would also teach other distributors to do the same. The majority of our active distributors 
showed up the next day for the general admission seminar. Dexter and Birdie were 
brought onstage with tremendous fanfare and applause. You would have thought from the 
crowd's wild reaction that they were greeting a rock superstar. They stood and cheered in 
a rousing standing ovation for what seemed like five minutes. We were extremely excited 
that our organization was going to learn from the one who had been described to us as the 
master teacher. 

Dexter started out slowly and seemed to be relating rather well. He told many 
stories of the old days when he and Birdie struggled. His talk soon shifted with incredible 
force into his political agenda. This was a pattern we would soon become accustomed to. 
At one of these meetings, with thousands of distributors in attendance, Dexter informed 
the audience that he had distributors in The Business in high levels in the government. He 
even told the group present that he had connections with Secret Service agents that 
worked in the White House. These agents had advised him that Hillary Clinton was a 
lesbian and that she slept in her own private bedroom — separate from Bill's. The agents, 
he said, had told him that our tax dollars were being used to shuttle Hillary's lesbian 
lovers in and out of the White House. We would hear this saga repeated often by both 
Zack and Dexter at other leadership meetings. 

At this meeting, and many others, Democrats were often characterized as 
mindless idiots, bent on socialism and the destruction of the moral fabric of this country. 



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We lost a good amount of distributors after this seminar. If you did not eventually change 
your way of thinking from Democrat to Republican, there really was no room for you in 
Amway. To stay in Amway and remain a Democrat would subject you to almost constant 
derision and mockery. I do not ever remember hearing any Amway Diamond speak who 
was anything but a conservative Republican. It almost seemed like a requirement. 

The conservative Republicans seemed very eager to rally around Amway. Former 
president Gerald R. Ford said, 

"Amway distributors are dramatic proof that the American spirit 
of free enterprise is, and will continue to be, a vibrant force for good at 
home and around the world. " 

We were not strongly tied to one political party or the other upon entering 
Amway. Kathy and I were very proud of the fact that this many important political 
figures fully endorsed, with their own reputations, The Business that we were now 
staking our family's future upon. 

There seemed to be an endless parade of very important political, religious, and 
business leaders that were anxious to endorse the Amway business. R. Craig Hoenshell is 
chairman and CEO of Avis, which has been described as one of the largest and most 
respected car rental companies. He related about Amway: 

"Everyone knows that at Avis, 'We Try Harder' for the customer. 
It's the way to be the preeminent car rental company. Same thing with 
Amway. Independent Business Owners are part of a great enterprise. They 
can count on Amway to be there — always working harder to make it as 
easy as possible for individuals to succeed in a business of their own. Avis 
and Amway have a lot in common. " 

Jerry Falwell came in and spoke at an Emerald and Diamond-only meeting for 
Dexter. He was charismatic and well spoken, despite the picture that the media had 
painted of him as someone on the religious lunatic fringe. It seemed as if any of us that 
were going to do something good for our family, our God, or our country were going to 
be subject to criticism. My respect for Mr. Falwell grew tremendously as he spoke. He 
talked of enjoying talk shows where it was just him, Jesus, and a bunch of liberals 
slugging it out. He spoke highly of our Amway business leaders and the foundational 
principles that Amway was built upon. He described socialism as "shared poverty." 6 We 
epitomized the exact opposite of that. 

The credibility of the business began to increase at an incredible pace. 
Distributors were advised that Amway 's global estimated retail revenues were growing at 
a rate of almost a billion dollars a year. There was talk of Amway becoming a trillion- 
dollar company. Billionaire founder Rich DeVos was featured on the May 1996 cover of 
New Man magazine. 

An Editor's note in the article stated that: "this section tells the stories of 
businessmen who are fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Each man has used his platform 
of success in business to proclaim the love of God and salvation in Jesus Christ." 7 The 



Take Charge of Your Future brochure SA-217 copyright 1997 Amway Corporation 



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article gave a glowing review of Rich DeVos' business and philanthropic efforts. This 
was a wonderful article that gave us even more credibility within the Christian 
community. It went on to say, 

"Now at the age of 70, with a record of achievement and a 
reservoir of riches nearly unmatched in the 20 l century (his net worth is 
estimated at $4.3 billion), DeVos is living with a renewed purpose and a 
heightened gratitude. . . " 

"Amway has grown into one of the world's largest and most 
lucrative privately held companies. It manufactures and sells household 
products directly to consumers, marketed by distributors who are widely 
known - and sometimes scoffed at - for their intensity and persistence. . ." 

"Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop says he regards 
DeVos as one of his heroes. "Rich's love for people and his vision to help 
them be the best that they can be has deeply affected me and my personal 
outlook," says Koop. A long-time friend and confidant, Billy Zeoli of 
Gospel Films, Inc. where DeVos has served on the board of directors for 
30 years, has a more personal perspective. "Many people know that Rich 
is one of the finest business leaders of his generation," says Zeoli. "Many 
people know that he practices what he preaches-that he backs up his words 
with real action, putting his money and talents where his heart is. But few 
people know what a tender spirit and loving heart he has. He is one of 
history's greatest motivators, precisely because he is motivated by the love 
of God and a desire to be faithful to his Lord."" 

"DeVos' resolute optimism, salted with a wholehearted embrace of 
the Christian gospel, has taken him through many doors and helped create 
moments not only for him but for the people he has inspired through his 
books, speeches and businesses. 

"In every achievers life, they must make a conscious decision to 
make something of themselves, to take responsibility for that that decision 
and too be willing the price," he says. "The most important lesson I have 
learned is the same lesson Winston Churchill illustrated famous three -— 
word graduation speech: "Never give up! 



.,,,9 



This was one concept that distributors would hear echoed again and again in 
different words at seminars and on tapes. Never, never, never give up, never quit. Quitters 
never win, and winners never quit. Your greatest victory is just beyond your greatest 
challenge. Persist and win. Your God, your family, your group, and your country are all 
counting on you. 



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1 "Strive" Tape CE-83 Robert Schuller Copyright unknown 

2 From firedup.org 

3 Copyright 1998 Personality Insights, Inc. 

4 Copyright 1998 Personality Insights, Inc. 

5 Achieve Magazine October 1999 

6 Author's Notes Yager Emerald leadership conference 1998 

7 May 1996 New Man p. 27 

8 May 1996 New Man p. 27-28 

9 May 1996 New Man p. 30 



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CHAPTER 7 



I Think I Can! 
I Think I Can! 



"Having known many successful individual who are 
practitioners of free enterprise, there are few as successful, as 
committed to the basic tenets of capitalism and especially 
'compassionate capitalism,' as Rich DeVos. It is a mark of 
Rich's commitment that he shares his 'personal credo' with us 
and with generations yet to come. " 

- Alexander Haig, Jr. * 



Despite the locomotive-like force of credibility and Amway's burgeoning billions 
of sales, we had challenges. Problems did not exist. Winners only have challenges or 
opportunities for growth. We had some serious challenges, however, that would not go 
away. Soon after we went Direct, our sponsors, Kerry and Chris, seemed to pull away 
from us. They no longer did much at all in our organization in terms of showing the plan 
or follow-ups. They began to treat us almost as if we had done something wrong when 
our organization took off in terms of growth. 

We soon found ourselves being corrected constantly for the most minor infraction 
of the rules as prescribed by the system. When we counseled with Zack, he seemed to 
know intuitively what our challenges were. It was uncanny. He had a deep penetrating 
stare and seemed almost to be able to read our minds. These counseling sessions became 
more and more intense in nature. He now reminded us at nearly every session that Kerry 
and Chris were our leaders, and we needed to be humble and follow them. We could not 
expect our group to follow our leadership if we were renegades or even appeared to be 
out from under their leadership. Kathy and I did not care about who was considered the 
leader, as we were always team players and did not have any concern for who got the 
credit. We just wanted to build a big business to help our friends and take care of our 
family. 

When we went Ruby, which was a pin level that Kerry and Chris never achieved, 
some more serious problems began. We then went on to develop a large organization and 
went Emerald before they did. Kerry later, half jokingly, told us that he wanted to send us 
a dead fish when we did this. Our success should have been a feather in his cap. It was a 
testimony to their having taught us the system so well. Instead, it appeared that we were 
in competition and a threat to them. They went from being great friends and encouragers 
to bosses who kept us at a distance. Their leadership talks, which had once been 



DeVos, Rich, Compassionate Capitalism, (Endorsement by Alexander Haing, Jr.) 



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inspirational and motivational, became incredibly hardcore. They seemed to move from 
just being loyal and committed to bordering on the lunatic fringe in relatively short order. 

As Speakers that had once uplifted the group they now blasted them for not doing 
more or not being loyal enough. Training sessions dissolved into a McCarthy Era-like 
search for the disloyal. Kerry made many talks stating things like 'you have not been 
loyal until you have had the chance to be disloyal but have remained faithful.' He was the 
most loyal to Zack and wanted everyone to know it. He even said on multiple occasions 
that he would gladly take a bullet for Zack. This was nuts. The rest of their own 
organization dwindled as a result of this shift in perspective. Soon, there were very few 
people at all left in their organization outside of our group. 

We were beginning to lose people as well. We had begun to recruit many credible 
professionals into our organization. We were sponsoring physicians, surgeons, 
accountants, financial planners, attorneys, teachers, police officers, and others. We even 
had some millionaires in our organization. When they heard our presentation, they were 
impressed enough to join. One of the keys for growth was to sponsor at your level and 
above in terms of credibility and social standing. The logic was simple. The greater the 
credibility you had in distributors in your group, the easier it was to recruit other like- 
minded people. We were moving quickly beyond the old door-to-door stereotype of the 
past. 

However, our training sessions had to be led by Kerry and Chris, as they were the 
upline leaders for our area, even though they had lost most of their personal business 
because of their management style. This became progressively worse. At one training 
session, Kerry dictated that to succeed required absolute commitment to the system. 
People needed to listen to two tapes a day, every day, including Christmas, according to 
him. This was insane. This was a faith based business, and here he was telling my 
organization that they all had to listen to two Amway business tapes on Christmas day, or 
they weren't going to cut it. 

He then continued his talk on total loyalty. The example he used we would 
eventually hear many times. His entire family had planned for a long period of time to 
gather from several states to have a family portrait done as a special get together and gift 
for the parents. This was planned months in advance to assure that all could attend. At the 
last minute, Zack called and invited Kerry and me to a secretive, leadership meeting in 
Charlotte, North Carolina, with Dexter Yager and some key Diamonds. Kerry cancelled 
on his family and left them all to gather in our town. His wife took his place in the family 
picture. The rest of his family was furious. With pride, he said "My own brother thinks 
that I am in a cult." Total commitment and an unquestioning loyalty to your upline were 
required to win. 

We had successful professionals actually get up and walk out while Kerry was 
talking. I was in a state of disbelief. What about loyalty to your family? Isn't that what 
this was all about? Kathy and I had gone to Zack and Molly again and again on this issue. 
We needed help desperately. Here we were sponsoring success-minded people from all 
walks of life by describing a secondary income source that they could develop into a six- 
figure residual income stream. They could develop a permanent income stream that could 
be passed on to their children. They then go to a training session and hear someone 
raving about taking a bullet for their upline and listening to business tapes on Christmas 
day. What was this becoming? 



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At first, we felt these challenges could be overcome. Zack had promoted himself 
as a problem solver. He had told us from stage that if we were uncomfortable with 
anything, to come to him, and he would help us resolve it. Kathy and I decided we 
needed to bring this situation up tactfully, right after we went Ruby. Zack and Molly 
were now like parents to us, and we trusted their counsel without reserve. In any event, 
they would only benefit if they helped us succeed. We prepared for the meeting and went 
to their mansion to counsel with great anticipation. We could resolve this and move right 
on to Diamond. 

We were dumbfounded and very much confused by what happened next. We 
began talking and going over our goal sheet as usual. Zack was a detail man and always 
wanted to know how our business was doing. We needed to have our numbers ready to 
show him how many tapes-of-the-week our group was buying and how many seminar 
tickets were being sold for the monthly meetings. These figures and the number of 
Amway kits sold in a month were described as the pulse of our business. The volume of 
goods and services a group purchased always trailed behind the sale of books, tapes, and 
seminar tickets. The more educated and motivated the group, the more of these products 
they would eventually move. 

We finally got to the end of the normal counseling topics, and Zack asked if there 
was anything else we needed to ask him. We confided that we were having a challenge 
with people being offended by Kerry's now almost militant talks and that some were 
actually quitting over it. We gave quite a few specific instances in a very respectful way. 
For some reason, it had become very easy for Kathy and I to relate to the masses both in 
person and from stage, but Kerry and Chris seemed to be struggling. Zack smiled and 
with a penetrating stare gave us nearly a two-hour lecture using analogies that we would 
become far too familiar with in the coming years. 

First, Zack assured us that there really was no problem outside of our own 
perceptions. A couple of people may have misunderstood Kerry. We always needed to 
protect our upline in situations like this. You never agree with downline. It was like in a 
family, Zack explained. A husband and wife should always support one another and show 
a united front to the children. This benefits not only the children but also the family as a 
whole. Most people were not mature enough to put their own ego aside to do what is 
right for the team, which is ultimately what is right for them as an individual. An 
individual team member could not win if the team lost, right? 

Zack asked us if anyone had ever misunderstood anything we had ever said in our 
lives. Of course, the answer was "yes." Would we like everyone in our group criticizing 
our every move and action? Of course not. Were we perfect and above making mistakes? 
There was only ever one perfect man (Jesus), and look what they did to Him. We should 
treat and protect Kerry and Chris, as we would like to be treated and protected by our 
people. They, after all, were the ones who had given us a chance to be free. We needed to 
work harder to build them up better and to shut off any distributor that might criticize 
them. Some people are just stupid and look to nit-pick or criticize any achiever in life. 

The biggest thing that we needed to do was show a united front to our 
organization and praise Kerry and Chris for our success. That was the type of winning 
team mentality that we wanted infused throughout our organization. Zack and Molly told 
us that they loved us very much and were only telling us this for our own good, as they 
wanted to see us win. They did not want us to do anything that could harm our own 



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business or our future. Our group and our own kids were counting on us. They loved us 
like their own children. They asked if we had ever had to say anything to our kids that 
they did not want to hear. Yes, of course, and we were motivated out of our love for 
them. This love for us, they explained, was why they so sternly insisted we correct our 
own perceptions and begin better protecting our upline. 

They reinforced over and over that Kerry and Chris had been in The Business 
longer than we had and were seasoned leadership. They had also spent a great deal of 
time with Zack. Talking to Kerry, because he was so incredibly loyal and plugged in, was 
in most cases like talking to Zack directly. Kerry did not make a single move without 
Zack's prior approval. We needed to learn to appreciate them as people and focus on their 
strengths. That is what God would have us do. Satan would like to see us separated and 
divided in leadership, in order to confuse the group and prevent us from reaching and 
serving others. 

We stung a little from the talk but were thankful for the correction. Part of us 
thought that Zack did not truly fully understand the magnitude of the challenge, but he 
did help us refocus on the positive. Zack and Molly ended the session with praising us, 
our future, our potential, and our growing organization. They again reassured us of their 
love for us and embraced Kathy and me warmly as we left their house. 

We were a little shell shocked on the way home but realized the apparent error of 
our ways. We had always been team players and had continuously given Kerry and Chris 
the credit for our success, even though we had built our group on our own from around 
the 4,000 PV level. We needed to be better downline members and to be better leaders, 
setting a strong example for those who looked to us for leadership. We were growing in 
many areas, and perhaps this was one that we needed to work on. 

Mega-successful Crown Distributor Jody Victor explained this leadership 
principle at a high level Emerald and Diamond-only meeting. At this meeting he said, 

The thing about it is, you guys, you can 't go on the defensive. It's 
biblical, you know. It 's worse to take offense than it is to give offense. Our 
upline might sometime make errors. If they are financial they should bear 
them. But if they are other kind of errors we shouldn 't rent a billboard and 
light it to tell the world about their errors. I think we should dig a hole 
and help bury it. Why would we want to illuminate it? Because if you live 
by the sword you will die by the sword. Someone someday will illuminate 
yours. But if they see you quietly put it ... put it aside, help bury it, 
eliminate it, then I think that same thing will happen to you. 

The Business was obviously working. Zack and Molly purchased a private island 
in the Thousand Island area of Canada. We heard about it in great detail and were 
eventually invited for a weekend with our leaders. One of Zack's island employees 
picked us up in an antique wooden boat. It was one of several showpiece boats that had 
come with the island. We motored for about a mile and were mesmerized by what we 
saw as we approached his island. It was incredible! What a beautiful piece of paradise! 
We did not know that places like this existed. The island had three separate homes on it. 
One was the main house and had about seven bedrooms. The other was a guest cottage, 
and the third was a home that the island staff lived in. 



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Zack announced that he and his family would be spending most of their summers 
there. We were all asked to sign a guest registry, as we went into the main home. As a 
former Federal Auditor, I knew that this was to document business use of the property for 
tax purposes. I mentioned to Zack that he must be able to write off a good percentage of 
this secondary residence-private island, since he used it on occasion for trips like this. He 
informed me that this was not a secondary residence. This was a business conference 
center, according to Zack. I knew that Zack had quite a bit of business savvy, but I would 
hate to defend a luxury island in the middle of the St. Lawrence Seaway to an IRS field 
auditor. 

In any event, we were all extremely motivated to see the rewards this business 
offered. Zack talked and encouraged us by stating that any of us could have a place like 
this for our family. We just needed to work harder, be loyal to our upline and the system, 
and stay positive. The couples broke up later at night and all retreated to different parts of 
the island to talk about what it would be like to have their own place like this. Kathy and 
I knew our kids would love this vacation spot - the water was crystal clear and full of 
game fish. 

The Directs were sent back to the mainland on a boat to stay at a local hotel in 
Canada for the night. Only Pearls and Emeralds were allowed to stay on with Zack and 
Molly for extra counseling. 



Go Get A Em, Tiger! 

"The purpose of the tapes, of course, is to understand the 
Amway business." 

- Amway Diamond Bonnie Howard ' 

The training that we were beginning to receive in terms of time management, 
sales, communication, and goal setting was incredible. We received this training, in 
person, from Zack and Molly, from tapes, from training sessions, and large seminars. I 
went from being somewhat shy to speaking to crowds of thousands with ease. I learned to 
contact strangers at malls and convenience stores to prospect them for The Business. The 
more we pushed and stretched what we thought was possible, the more we were able to 
do. We learned how to meet people and develop an immediate rapport with them. We 
actually got good enough to meet and sponsor complete strangers into our organization. 
They would later become good friends. 

One particular skill set that was a necessity in communicating effectively was 
learning and remembering names. This did not come naturally to me. However, we 
learned that the sweetest name a person can hear is his or her own. It creates a feeling of 
value and respect. As I was doing Amway recruitment meetings nearly every night in 
hotels and homes, there were lots of opportunities to practice. Like any muscle you 
develop, the memory gets stronger, the more you use it. Eventually, I was able to walk 
into a room and meet ten or twelve strangers and refer to them individually by name, in 



Amway Diamond Bonnie Howard Ladies Session Saturday Morning Stock No. GDL 95-1 



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any order, in the course of an hour and a half presentation. 

This amazed people, because it showed that I cared about them as human beings, 
not just as prospects that I wanted to sell on our business. We learned not only to develop 
rapport, but also to quickly bond with people, as they came into The Business. We 
wanted them to feel more loved and accepted with us than anywhere else in their life. The 
whole organization became an incredibly close group of friends. They were like a family, 
a perfect, accepting, loving family. 

This created total loyalty, unity, and a team that was so unstoppable, it actually 
became a problem at one point. At open recruitment meetings in hotels, all the 
distributors would arrive early and wait for their prospects to show up in the lobby. We 
would all arrive in our crisply pressed suits and dresses, looking like a very sharp group 
of business people. We could not wait to see one another. There was a lot of hugging 
when men and women greeted one another. It was always appropriate, but it seemed odd 
to the prospects to come to a business meeting and see so many people hugging one 
another. For years at seminars, we had to ask distributors to stop embracing each other 
around public meetings. It was all right to greet one another that warmly at seminars, as 
everyone there was in, and we all understood the bond we shared. Many of us became 
closer to our friends in The Business than we were with any of our own extended family 
members. 

Many active distributors had gradually, unnoticeably shed nearly all relationships 
outside of the group. It seemed like a natural progression. Many of us had become so 
busy with work, training sessions, leadership meetings, trips, and showing the plan that 
we had no time for any social life outside of The Business. The Business was our social 
life. We felt more comfortable with people that were in The Business than with anyone 
else. 

We thought critically of former friends and even our own family members, 
condemning them as being lazy. They were on a crash collision with failure and did not 
seem to care. We were doing something wonderful with our lives by owning our own 
businesses and helping others succeed. The more criticism others heaped on us for being 
Amway distributors, the more committed we were to the cause. We had learned that 
criticism was the death rattle of the lazy. There never was a statue erected for a critic or a 
non-achiever. 

The cumulative effect of over a thousand hours of tapes, videos, and seminars in 
the system was gradual but powerful. We had now unknowingly internalized most all of 
the prescribed businesses paradigms. All Democrats were evil, stupid people. Attorneys 
were truly bad. Anyone who used an attorney to sue someone else was a socialist, 
wanting to take what someone else had earned. Lawyers were bloodsuckers, and the only 
lawyers that were good were ones that had gone Diamond and had now renounced their 
former profession. ' There was a serious problem in America: As a nation, we had 
developed a lottery mentality that caused people to want to sue over anything to hit the 
jackpot, instead of earning it themselves. How sad that they did not have any principles 
of value to pass on to their children. This paradigm, that only losers ever sued anyone, 
was continually reinforced at seminars and training meetings. I had no idea I would 
eventually become one of those "losers". 

We had now been thoroughly programmed to believe that having a job made you 
one of the lowest life forms in America, especially when you could choose The Business 



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to be free, succeed, and spend unlimited time with your family. Only a moron would 
choose to work for a lifetime at a job where he was building no equity. You could work 
at a job for twenty-five years and be laid off, due to office politics or a downturn in the 
economy. There was no security in any job. Even physicians were getting into Amway to 
develop long-term residual income that they could enjoy in early retirement and later pass 
on to future generations. Horror stories of successful fifty-year-old middle managers 
being laid off were repeated with great emotion. Companies were maligned who would 
consider doing such things to valuable people. 

Many distributors actually began to detest their employers for taking advantage of 
them and reaping the harvest of their employees' labor. People often spoke of how hard 
they worked for years with little or no respect only to have the owner and his wife go to 
Hawaii, while they stayed back to watch his business. Who do you love, your wife or the 
wife of your boss? Where should your priorities be? Should they be in his business or in 
yours where you could reap tremendous rewards and take your family on wonderful 
trips? One of the most often repeated slogans was in reference to walking the beaches of 
the world together. 

This shift in perceived business ownership caused several of our Direct 
distributors to get fired or quit their jobs under bad circumstances. In their minds, they 
were choosing between supporting their family's future or their bosses'. One Direct could 
not get the weekend off for a Dream Weekend seminar and decided his business was 
more important than his employer's. He gave his employer an ultimatum and was 
promptly fired. Another one of our Directs was fired for using the company vehicle, 
business contacts, and the cell phone for his Amway business. He lost his job, his 
company truck, and his self esteem all in one day. To us, it made him more loyal and 
committed. Another Direct quit his job under extremely poor circumstances. A Ruby 
Direct of ours, I have been advised, had all but completely destroyed his career from 
developing a hostile, defiant attitude and verbalizing it at work. 



A Dream Come True 

"We are going to control the World economy from this 

business. " 

- Jeff Yager' 

While these things were happening, we actually were taking many "lifestyle-type" 
trips with the same people. We began to travel and literally walked many beaches of the 
world with our new friends. Our group was now our family, and we loved traveling 
together. At the Direct level, there were trips sponsored or organized by both Amway and 
Walters International. For a small fraction of all distributors who qualified, Amway 
launched what was called Q-12 trips for having achieved certain volume levels for twelve 
months out of the fiscal year. These trips were all-expense paid. All we had to do was tell 
them which airport we wanted to fly out of. There were also promotional trips that we 



Jeff Yager, Tuesday Evening Stock No. GDL 97-27 Copyright InterNET Services Corporation 



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qualified for at the Emerald level. 

Here, we began to get a taste of the good life. The company paid for these annual, 
Amway-sponsored trips. (Directs' trips, put on by Zack, were mandatory, leadership 
training trips that we paid for out of our own pockets through a travel agent that Zack 
knew. More on this later.) We went to Disney World in Florida several times. On one 
Amway trip, we were flown into Orlando. Amway provided our transportation. 
Employees of Amway greeted us as we got off the plane, and we never touched our own 
luggage. It was tagged and later brought to our room in a luxury hotel. 

When we checked in, we were given special clothing and handed a box 
overflowing with gifts, Disney dollars, and passes to whatever park we chose to visit. 
There was an itinerary for the week, but we had almost all day to ourselves with lavish 
dinners and entertainment at night. On one occasion, we were all put on large buses and 
brought over to Disney World for dinner. 

What none of us knew was that the park had been closed to the public that night 
and rented just for us. We were overwhelmed, as we were escorted through the back 
service entrance of Tomorrow Land to see the enormous feast and entertainment that 
greeted us. This was incredible! None of us had ever worked for an employer that would 
do this. The lavish hospitality helped anchor many positive emotions within us in relation 
to any thoughts we had about our upline or Amway. We were so grateful that someone 
had given us a chance. 

What a night to remember! We ate delicious food, and then hurried like little kids 
to enjoy all the rides awaiting us with no lines! Can you imagine? We would get off 
Space Mountain and immediately get back on to ride it again. There was an enormous 
building that housed a giant arcade filled with countless pinball and video games. All of 
these games were set to the free mode. We couldn't spend a cent! We witnessed a couple 
hundred adults immediately revert back to a huge group of tall first graders. There was an 
incredible DJ playing music loudly, and many of us were actually dancing in the streets 
of Tomorrow Land. We were with our Diamonds and the closest friends we had in the 
world. It was a magical, warm night of fun and memory making that none of us would 
ever forget. How would we ever come home and describe this to the rest of the group? 
Easy - Amway videotaped it for us to show to the group. This helped reinforce the dream 
building all of us had been encouraged to do. For a moment, we participated in the 
opulent lifestyle. We just had to bring the rest of our group with us next year! 

On another occasion, we were bussed over to Universal Studios for an evening of 
magic. We had no idea what to expect but tingled with anticipation, as we got off the 
buses. It was obvious that this, too, was closed to the public and had been rented 
exclusively for us. We heard a very loud clamor, as we began to walk into the park. We 
were herded down the main street and sidewalk. Police-like crowd control barriers 
directed us all onto the center area of the street, and we rounded the corner to see a huge, 
frenzied group of people on both sides of the street. Did you ever have a moment when 
you just stop, because your mind is racing through all four quadrants of your brain to 
process information, but you just cannot quite understand what is happening? We did not 
comprehend all the screaming and yelling as we moved forward. Some took flash 
pictures and ran out at us. 

A strange sensation suddenly hit our heads and shoulders, as an enormous amount 
of confetti began to float down upon us out of the warm summer night. We were at a 



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parade. We were the parade! ! ! The huge number of people on the sidewalks taking flash 
pictures and running up for autographs were actors hired to make us feel like celebrities. 
We laughed and signed autographs until we almost cried. It was an exciting, emotional 
moment that anchored our total loyalty and commitment in this business. Our reactions 
were videotaped, and we were implored to press on and help many more people succeed 
to the level where they could have experiences like this with the ones they loved. This 
was why the Diamonds were so respected. They were wealthy beyond their own needs, 
yet still worked to help nobodies, like us, enjoy life to this extent. We were truly blessed. 

Events like this emotionally and psychologically bonded us to The Business, our 
upline, and our dear friends in our group. I hated to even refer to them as downline, 
because we saw them as partners. We knew all their hopes and dreams. We knew their 
struggles and pain. Their children and ours were growing up together, all with an 
incredible future to look forward to. 

The trips that Zack put on for his Direct distributors were exciting as well. 
Distributors could qualify to go for free or at reduced rates, but most could not meet the 
demanding criteria established for this. (These were labeled "lifestyle trips," and since we 
normally had a couple of business dinners at night, we could write it off as a business 
trip.) 

This, we were told, was another advantage of owning your own business; in that, 
you could write off a portion of your home and your travel to exotic locations as a 
business expense. It was a great motivator to be able to travel and come back and tell the 
group you had spent a few hours with Zack and Molly. When they went to Europe to 
speak to their organizations over there, 40,000 people showed up for multiple sessions. 
They felt fortunate to learn from Zack and Molly from a hundred yards away; yet we 
could actually go to their Presidential Suite in the Hotel and learn directly from them. 
Wow! 

Loyalty, leadership, team effort, the four cardinal rules, and edification were the 
normal topics covered very, very directly at these meetings. We learned things at this 
level that the group as a whole would never be aware of. Again, we were reminded of the 
former Amway Diamonds that had been disloyal to Zack and had lost everything. They 
had also cross lined and shared inappropriate information with one another. The men had 
been foolish enough to take counsel from their wives. They had all gotten their egos out 
of control and wanted alcohol at seminars. 

Their upline had actually built their organization for them, and they had 
developed socialistic thinking. None of us could understand how anyone could be that 
stupid. The worst thing, we were told, was that thousands of people had their dreams and 
futures stolen, as their groups eventually dwindled to almost nothing. Zack and Molly 
had remained loyal to Dexter and Birdie and rebuilt their organization to a huge global 
empire. If we would follow their advice closely, we would never have to make costly 
mistakes like this. 

We were good, loyal distributors and continued to build our organization. In fact, 
it began to stretch out across many states and into other countries. We went on some trips 
that our sponsors, Kerry and Chris, did not qualify for. We did not want this to create 
hard feelings and were always careful to thank them for giving us the opportunity. We 
also praised them publicly whenever we spoke of these adventures. 

On one occasion, we qualified for a near weeklong, all-expense-paid, Caribbean 



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cruise. Although it would have been the trip of a lifetime for us, after much thought, we 
declined it out of loyalty. Otherwise, we would have had to miss a one-night Emerald 
leadership meeting that Zack was having. We had to be loyal to the people who had given 
us this wonderful opportunity to live a full, meaningful life. 

We continued to build our Amway business, but some changes began to take 
place that were difficult for us to understand. First, Zack and Molly counseled us on how 
to go Diamond and went over every day of my schedule for a month. In his boardroom 
for this counseling session, I had to account for every minute of a full month, using my 
schedule book. I went over every appointment, meeting, training session, open meeting, 
follow-up session, call session, and seminar that we either spoke at or attended. 
Combined, we had put in nearly a hundred hours a week. But then Zack explained that 
seminars and travel time did not count as work. Seminars, which started at about 10:00 
AM and continued until midnight, were not considered productive work time. Travel time 
did not count either, as commuters do not count their drive to work as productive effort. 
Yes, but I was averaging almost 2,000 miles a month, driving through multiple states to 
recruit prospects. 

In any event, we were made to feel ashamed of our 'lack of effort.' I was 
humiliated, as Zack verbally attacked me for not being more productive. Zack asked in a 
friendly way, "How many children do you have?" We responded three. He smiled and 
said he thought we would have had a lot more and then said, "Well, what do you do all 
day?" The implication was rude — that we must be at home doing nothing but having sex 
with all this free time. I felt angry that he would even suggest something so vulgar in 
Kathy's presence. He could see that he had pushed us to the limit and then became 
friendly again. He asked us if we thought it was his objective to help or hurt us. How 
many correct answers are there to that question? We were becoming almost fearful of 
him, as were others. 

He showed me how to go Diamond. He explained that I needed to book my 
schedule from 10:00 AM straight through until midnight seven days a week, with an 
exception on Sunday morning for church. Kathy did not speak but bristled slightly, and 
he picked up on her body language. He could see that she did not want me leaving the 
family on Sunday. We had usually spent Sunday afternoons relaxing at her parents' 
house. He spent the next half-hour convincing her to accept this strategic plan. 

She wanted the Diamond Lifestyle for our kids, didn't she? Pastors work on 
Sunday, right? We're serving God by helping His people. Did we think that God's people 
only needed help six days a week? Police officers work on Sundays. If she was home 
alone, and someone was breaking into our house, wouldn't she be glad that there was an 
officer on duty on Sunday? If one of our children became deathly ill, would she be glad 
that there was a physician at the hospital, or would she feel it was better to wait until 
Monday? If we needed help, would we be glad that he would be willing to come serve us 
on a Sunday? 

This began what would evolve into years of nearly non-stop work. I was willing 
to push on, because we could no longer live like this. The occasional Amway-sponsored 
trips were wonderful, but they didn't pay the household bills. We had to develop an 
Emerald or Diamond distributorship to enjoy freedom and the residual income. We 
thought we were close to that $100,000 income that came at the Emerald level, even 
though we were working inhuman hours to have a joint net income of about $25,000 as 



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Pearls. There wasn't really anyone we could ask about the differences in income, because 
anyone who complained about his income was maligned as an idiot. The Diamonds 
reminded us that we were all paid on the same schedule. They were happy with their 
incomes and business. This put me in the terrible position of having to assume that I was 
somehow at fault. Everyone was making terrific money at this level [or so I thought], and 
therefore, I must be making some gross error. 

This constant fear was reinforced when Kerry reminded me, while we were out 
driving to a meeting in his white Mercedes, that he had purchased the car from Zack with 
a personal check. Other Pearls spoke of making $100,000 a year. Craig and Kara 
Loupelle had gone Diamond in nearly two years, but he had somehow created enough 
Amway income to leave his job almost immediately. I felt like such a failure, like I was 
letting my family down. I felt as if I was letting Zack down, too, and part of me 
desperately wanted to make him proud, to know that I was a team player and a leader that 
he could count on. 

Kathy and I wanted not only to take care of our own finances, but also to have a 
surplus to bless the small Christian school our children now attended. We wanted to be 
able to take care of our parents and take trips with them. We read the book Just Wait 
Until We 're Diamond over and over to our kids. It was children's book that talked about 
the lifestyle they would enjoy as Diamond kids. They were very excited about all we 
were working for. They would look at the book while we were both off at late night 
meetings and gone for weekends to seminars. They, too, put off and delayed many parts 
of their life, because we were so busy working to get to Emerald and Diamond for them. 
They had spent a great deal of time with babysitters. We had learned the principle of 
delayed gratification from the system and taught it to them. A couple that we were friends 
with went Diamond, and they brought their kids on stage and recognized them as part of 
their team. There were thousands in attendance and not a dry eye in the house when they 
played a tape of the young daughter's voice mail message to her dad saying that she 
believed in him and knew that he was a Diamond. He had used his cell phone and 
listened to that over and over on the way to meetings. 

The Diamond ladies would often warn the women in the group not to let their 
children make them feel guilty for going out so much to meetings and training sessions. 
The Diamonds would recount stories about their leaving for meetings while their children 
were crying. They would then call home from a cell phone at the meeting only to hear the 
kids laughing and playing in the background. They needed to make adult decisions that 
would benefit their children's entire future. 



"People come up to me all the time and say, "Oh Birdie, I just 
love your wisdom. I wish I had wisdom like you. I wish I had 
your wisdom..." And I'm like ... It's not mine. They look at 
me kind of funny and they went... "What do you mean?" It's 
not mine. It's God's. But He told me I could have it whenever 
I asked for it. So He gives it to me." 



no 



Ill 



Amway Crown Ambassador Birdie Yager ' 



It was very hard to be gone so much. Josh once tackled me as I was leaving for a 
meeting. He was only about five years old, but he missed me very much. I had on my 
typical plan outfit, which consisted of a freshly pressed dark suit, white shirt and red tie. 
He knew I was leaving for a long time when he saw this. He had thrown a red tie around 
his neck and clutched my leg, begging me to take him with me. He was crying, and it was 
all I could to wrench him off and push him away as I left. There was no consoling him. I 
got in my car and cried as I left our driveway and drove off into the night. But times like 
this made me more determined. Family was the reason to persist. 

One new Diamond spoke of the trip to Hawaii he had taken his mother on just 
before she died and the precious moments that they had shared, because he had earned his 
freedom. He could not only take care of her financially but had the time to be with her at 
the end of her illness. He praised God and Zack for this wonderful, blessed life. Another 
Diamond recounted how his elderly mother, on a luxury trip with him, had stated that she 
had tried to talk him out of the Amway business and thanked God he had not listened to 
her. 

Seminars with recognition ceremonies and stories like these often ran late at night 
and involved bright, blasting strobe and laser lights that functioned in harmony with loud 
patriotic, religious, or motivational music. This was combined with these incredible, 
emotional testimonials and even the chanting of phrases like "Go Diamond, Go Diamond, 
Go Diamond!" or "No Excuses! Five and Six Nights a Week" (a reference to showing 
the plan). The crowds were revved into a peak, euphoric emotional and psychological 
state, and these feelings were then anchored with the phrases chanted, the music, and 
sometimes just the feeling of sheer exhaustion. As we would later be running the roads 
for our freedom, listening to a tape of that seminar, a certain song or a return to the 
exhausted state could trigger the euphoric feeling again. 

Did you ever hear a sound or smell a fragrance that instantly transported you to a 
crystal clear memory, such as a sunny day in your childhood? All your senses were 
involved, especially if it was an exhilarating event or memory; your heart rate would 
actually increase. The seminars and the teaching and music tapes did that for us. As crazy 
as it sounds, the sensation of total exhaustion would trigger the feeling of euphoria. After 
the non-stop tapes, containing teachings we had absorbed, it felt great to be on the road at 
three in the morning with yet another tape playing, and have an hour until you reached 
home. Not many people would be willing to do that. I had begun to think only in slogans 
or cliches. The best fruit was out on the limb. We were not going to be in the 95% of 
people, who worked their whole lives only to be broke at retirement. We were living the 
principles of success and would be able to teach them to our children. We had to pay the 
price and learned to live in a near exhausted state. 

Perhaps because of this, we developed an incredible love and bond with the 
people in our organization, who were going through the same struggles to achieve their 
own success. It was a deep, loyal bond that I had only felt once before. The Marine Corps 
Officer training that I had attended in Quantico, Virginia, molded a group of total 
strangers into a powerful, strong unit. In all our tests and challenges, if even a single 



Birdie Yager Ladies Session Saturday Morning Part II Stock No. GDL 96-2 



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member failed, the whole platoon failed. We each had to give 1 10% and help each other. 
The group was more important than the individual. We did exceptionally well as a team, 
graduating as the Honor Platoon after grueling tests. I understood the principle of unity 
and team effort immediately from this training. We came as strangers, and in a relatively 
short period of time, we were willing to lay down our lives for one another. This is the 
type of powerful relationship we built in The Business. 

We had these friendships cemented when our daughter, Ashley, became very ill 
with pneumonia. She was only an infant and dehydrated to the point she had to be 
hospitalized. An intravenous tube was placed in her wrist, and she was fed fluids through 
a pediatric needle taped to a small board on her hand. She pulled it out again and again. 
She looked so weak and helpless. Her eyes were sunken in, and she was miserable, but 
she needed to get those fluids into her system. Kathy and I quickly became exhausted by 
an around-the-clock vigil at the hospital. Word got out and friends from our group came 
and sat with Ashley 24 hours a day. This allowed Kathy to get some sleep, and I went 
into their groups to do meetings. The vigil continued until Ashley recovered and came 
home. It was like God's community looking out for one another. We were so fortunate to 
have friends that were there for us when we truly needed them. Thank God for Amway. 

The corporation, itself, was growing at nearly a billion dollars a year. There was 
more and more talk of it becoming a trillion-dollar company. We had expanded into over 
seventy foreign countries and territories. We were going into China. After a little over a 
year in Japan, we were doing over a billion dollars a year. Success was everywhere. 
Going Diamond was going to be worth all the hard work. Some of the Diamonds had 
upgraded from $500,000 coaches to private jets. Zack bought an incredible ranch in 
Colorado with 3,000 acres of land. It was loaded with bear, elk, deer and turkey. He built 
an enormous log cabin-mansion on it, and his leaders all paid their own way there for 
multiple "leadership" visits. We then were required to chip in funds for gifts to properly 
thank Zack and Molly for taking time to teach us. There was no doubt that Amway was 
working and in a huge way. 

We were invited to do a fairly large seminar for John and Sue Walters. John is 
Zack's brother, and he was an Amway Emerald at the time. It was an honor to go there 
and speak, as he and Sue had been two of our heroes and teachers as we had come up 
through the ranks. We spoke at a large high school auditorium and had a great day. The 
group was alive and motivated and excited to be there and take notes. For dinner, John 
and Sue took us to a small restaurant away from the crowd, so we could talk. They were 
both a lot of fun, and we enjoyed each other's company very much. During the course of 
conversation, John mentioned that as Emeralds, he and Sue got a break on the cost of 
each seminar ticket that their group purchased for these monthly meetings. 

This seemed odd, as we had never heard of anything like this and had been 
working with Zack directly, since we started in The Business. The next week, at product 
pick up, I asked Kerry if he knew anything about this. He said "no" and quickly changed 
the subject. I let it drop, as I knew that I didn't need to think about anything that did not 
affect me directly. I just needed to stay focused. A few days later, Kerry called with good 
news. Zack was free later that week and had some time to counsel us to help us move on 
to Diamond. I was beginning to feel a little more nervous than excited, but I still looked 
forward to getting together with Zack. 

We spent over an hour going over the normal business of our numbers of books, 



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tapes, Amway kits, and seminar tickets moved in the last few months. He was very warm 
and engaging. The conversation slowly moved into a realm of somber, quiet 
communication. Zack confronted me very directly that I was never again, under any 
circumstances, to discuss the tool break on tapes and books with anyone else. This was a 
small perk to cover our expenses as leaders and was not an income source. The group 
might not understand this. For us, it did not even cover the amount I was putting into my 
car's gas tank and food on the road most months, so this was not an issue. We were also 
told never, ever to discuss anyone else's tool break with them. He then mentioned the 
contents of the conversation I had had with his own brother, who, he said, "should have 
known better." 

This began an hour-long talk about cross lining. Many, many examples were 
given of people who had destroyed their own businesses simply by discussing the details 
of it with someone other than their upline. He was interested in our success and had 
invested a lot of time, energy, and valuable teaching in Kathy and me. He informed me 
that it would be disloyal to risk an investment that he had made in our business for us by 
cross lining with anyone, including his own brother. This talk literally went on for an 
hour. He excused himself once to use the restroom, and I was glad for the break. 

I thought it was over, but he came back and launched immediately into a tirade 
from where he had left off. He explained that good, well-intentioned people had 
destroyed big organizations by getting a little sloppy on this one point, and we needed to 
teach it and be on guard for it among our own leaders. We were a little overwhelmed but 
thankful for the direction. He really did seem to care and once again repeated how much 
he and Molly loved us and wanted us to go to Diamond Club in Hawaii with them. We 
were beginning to regard him with mixed emotions of warmth and total fear. 

We were motivated and working hard. However, our finances began to spiral 
downward for a couple of reasons, which were hard to identify or comprehend. We had 
been counseled to sell our rental properties, as they were distractions. We had gotten 
totally debt free outside of our mortgage. But soon we started to accumulate small and 
then larger amounts of credit card debt. There were more and more mandatory leadership 
seminars and trips to attend. If Zack called a meeting at his Ranch in Colorado, you had 
to be there on the date you were told. It was a privilege to learn from the master. If he 
called a Directs' trip to Florida, you went, and you brought all your leaders with you. If 
he called a meeting on his private island in Canada, you were there, no questions asked. 

Leaders could not ever afford to miss a single upline event. They would look 
disloyal and not plugged in. (All of our groups were constantly told to follow their upline 
plugged-in leader.) A plugged-in leader, again, is someone who is completely loyal to 
the system and in line with his line of sponsorship's leadership. A plugged-in leader 
would never break the cardinal rules by passing negative, de-edifying upline, 
implementing new ideas, or cross lining with another leader. To do any of these things 
could destroy the whole business you had worked for. 

We received great news when Paul, the best man from our wedding, called and 
shared that he had met a beautiful, special lady. I could tell from every word he uttered 
that she was the one. He was the first person we had sponsored in The Business, and he 
had since moved to Louisiana. She happened to be in The Business in another leg of 
Dexter' s organization. What a small world! They knew how committed we were and 
needed to make plans. 



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All of their families were actually going to travel all the way from the upper East 
Coast clear to Baton Rouge for the wedding. They wanted to know if I would be the best 
man. They also needed to know what my seminar schedule was for the summer. They 
knew if it was on a seminar weekend that I would not be able to attend their wedding. 
They actually booked the wedding date around our seminar schedule. They understood 
how committed I was to our organization and my family's future. 

The bomb dropped a few weeks before the wedding. Zack called a special 
Directs' meeting for my organization on his private island in Canada. I considered calling 
and telling Paul that I could not make it; in my heart, I knew he had time to find another 
best man. I think Kathy convinced me that I needed to go to the wedding. I nervously 
approached Zack backstage at a seminar. I knew I should not be asking this. Someone 
truly loyal and a real leader would not do this, but part of me knew I should be there at 
this important event in my friend's life. 

I asked permission to attend the wedding and explained that it had actually been 
planned around his seminar schedule. He looked at me as if in disbelief and then just told 
me to go. He seemed disgusted. I could tell that this decision was going to cost me. He 
had more than one family member plan their wedding around his schedule. He would 
rather serve his group, his family, and his God than be part of a crowd at someone's 
wedding. 

I went to the wedding, and it was spectacular. What an incredible couple Paul and 
Tammy made. They had a wonderful, loving church group and family with them. I felt so 
honored to be part of their special day. On another level, however, I was stricken with 
guilt for putting my personal pleasure in this moment before my loyalty to the group and 
my own family's future. They were all with Zack on his island. Kathy went with them in 
my absence, but it was not the same. I was afraid, after nearly seven years of never 
missing anything that my upline would think that I was not plugged in. This was a 
terrible example to set for my leaders. 

We were coached to book most major life events around The Business. Molly 
actually had a baby at a distant city, because she went into labor at a seminar where she 
and Zack were speaking. At another seminar, just before they were about to speak, they 
got a call and were told that Molly's mother's husband had just died. Zack counseled her 
and told her that she needed to speak on stage, because they had to keep their 
commitments. They both went on stage and spoke and then went home after the seminar. 

That was commitment and servant hood to others. At another time, we had 
learned that Zack's father was near death. He did not know that we knew of this. Here he 
was on his island, counseling a group of us, and asking if we had any problems that he 
could help with. What a selfless example! His own father was passing away, yet he was 
so committed to us that he spent a couple days encouraging and directing us. We viewed 
him with an oddly evolving mixture of admiration, respect, and love, but also with the 
more frequent emotion of fear. He was becoming more hardcore in his demands for total 
loyalty. 

Not only were we in this new bizarre world, it had become a part of us! We 
scheduled everything around business events. We ordered our Amway products on 
Sunday night, and they would come by truck on Wednesday. We would open up the 
cases and sort the many hundreds of pounds of Amway products, and then our downline 
would come and pick them up from us. Every Wednesday, like clockwork, our 



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distributors would show up at prescribed times to pick up their tapes, books, and Amway 
products. Because this day was so vital to our tool and product flow, we scheduled 
Kathy's caesarian section for our daughter Ashley on a Thursday. Her birth date was 
actually chosen to avoid conflict with the distribution of Amway products. 

One year, we called Ashley from Puerto Rico to sing happy birthday to her. We 
were there on an Emerald trip and had made arrangements for the family that was 
watching our kids to have a cake for her. We celebrated it a different time. We had been 
taught well. The Diamond ladies would always warn the women that their kids would try 
to make them feel guilty for being away so much. The women leaders needed to get it in 
their mind's that being with their husbands, building their financial future, and serving 
others was the best example they could set for their children. 

Personally, we had a hard time with this. Distributors were counseled to celebrate 
wedding anniversaries and birthdays around The Business schedule. Diamonds often 
talked of these as minor sacrifices early on in their business. The big payoff now was an 
annual trip to Diamond club in Hawaii! They pointed out that they now celebrated any 
time they wanted, because they were totally financially and time free. Kathy and I had to 
work harder, and we would get there too. Kathy deserved it. I was exhausted constantly 
but could do more. 



"In Financial planning you trust no one, in Amway, you trust 
everyone." 

- John Sestina, Amway Diamond & past Financial Planner of the Year 



Our finances continued to worsen, as the leadership meetings became more and 
more frequent and expensive. The Amway Corporate trips were all expense paid by the 
company - perks for all our hard work. The seminar meetings that Zack ran were another 
story. We were expected to be there without fail, but we had to pay our own way. The 
tape-of-the-week that we all religiously purchased went from $5.00 to $6.00 a week plus 
tax and shipping. The tape-of-the-week program then went from one to two tapes-of-the- 
week. The extra tape was only for the truly committed who wanted to learn more material 
faster. All of our plugged-in distributors, which included almost everyone on the system, 
began this tape-of-the-week-plus-one program. That raised the weekly cost to $13.20 
with tax and shipping. Later, a book-of-the-month and a video-of-the-month started. This 
was in addition to the regular monthly seminars and other training sessions. 

We were reminded that God's own word said, "My people are destroyed for lack 
of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). We were business owners and needed to invest in ourselves. 
This was far cheaper than most people spend on a year on college tuition, and we were 
learning from self-made millionaires and multi-millionaires. We effectively taught 
distributors to change their thinking pattern from that of employees to business owners. 
There was a 100% success rate within the system and a zero percent success rate outside 
of it. The Profiles of Success was living proof of it. Who would argue with Zack or 
Dexter? Their wealth documented that the system worked and worked well. You could 
discuss a new idea with the Diamonds, once you were making what they were making. 



Sestina, John. Profiles in Success Copyright American Multimedia, Inc. 



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We were routinely advised that we needed new people, not new ideas. This was like a 
franchise, so why waste time reinventing the wheel? Nevertheless, our credit cards started 
showing an increasing balance, as we had to foot the travel expenses. 

Our finances also continued to plummet, due to the increased costs of the system 
and our inability to sponsor large numbers, retain them, and grow our organization. Our 
upline was becoming almost maniacal in their zealous approach to leadership. We had 
Artistry training sessions for the ladies in our organization. These were sessions that were 
scheduled for a weekend to give the ladies a background in our high-end line of 
cosmetics. The cosmetics and vitamins were astronomically expensive, in comparison to 
anything we had ever purchased prior to The Business. However, this was from our 
business and was going to pay for our kids' college. We had to be 100% loyal to our 
product line if we expected our group to be loyal as well. Many distributors would 
quickly have well over $1,000 invested in a cookware set, a water treatment system, and 
a heavy vacuum cleaner that we marketed. All the loyal distributors had these items in 
their home. How could they promote a product to their group if they did not have one of 
their own? 

I did not know the other advice that the ladies were given until years later. The 
women in our organization were told what they needed to do to become Diamond ladies 
was support their husband and be a good Proverbs woman. Each woman was told never 
to refuse her husband sex, for any reason. These women were even told to dress up and 
put on fresh make-up to greet their husbands when they would come home at one or two 
o'clock in the morning. At two different meetings, a member of our upline told the 
women that they were to always look good, as they were their husband's "best 
ornament." This offended all those women who still had the capacity to think clearly-but 
what could they say? 



"...almost all systems of authority in cult organizations 
indoctrinate their disciples to believe that anyone who 
opposes their beliefs cannot be motivated by anything other 
than satanic force or blind prejudices, or ignorance." 

- Dr. Walter Martin ' 



- Dr. Walter Martin 



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1 GDL 97-20 Emerald Directs- Part II audiotape Copyright 1997 Internet Services (tape count 116 side 2) 



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CHAPTER 8 



Invasion from Above 



"Few people are as well qualified as Rich DeVos to share with 
us the lessons for life, for he has demonstrated a mastery over 
many more of life's problems than most." 

- D. James Kennedy, Ph.D. Senior Pastor, Coral Ridge* 



There seemed to be no level at which they would stop invading your personal life. 
A fellow Emerald told Kathy and an Emerald in our group that she and her husband 
would ask a couple they were counseling how many times a week they were having sex. 
A couple needed to really have a good relationship to sponsor effectively. Privately, 
Molly told Kathy that if Zack came home at three in the morning and wanted sex, he was 
going to get it. After all, look how he provided for them. 

It sounded far too much like a business deal when Kathy later revealed this to me. 
At the same time that the women were getting this advice, Zack was holding a men's 
leadership meeting and advising that he did not know how a woman could want to have 
sex with a 'wimp.' A 'wimp' was defined as someone not doing all he could to further his 
Amway business and financial future. One Diamond jabbed the crowd at a large seminar 
by saying in a half-joking manner, "You may not really love your wife if you don't go 
Diamond." 

Our finances continued to erode, as our Amway income was nowhere near what 
we had been promised. This, coupled with an ever-increasing number of required "tools" 
and leadership meetings, drew us further and further into debt. By the time we were tens 
of thousands of dollars in debt, Zack counseled us to get a second mortgage to pay off the 
credit cards. We did that but were soon accumulating more debt. We had been blessed 
with a beautiful baby girl, but it was impossible to live on $25,000, before taxes, with all 
the business expenses and volume of Amway products we were required to purchase to 
remain clearly loyal. We had to move forward. There was no plan B. There was no other 
way. We pushed and pushed and did an inhuman amount of work and finally hit our next 
huge goal of Emerald! Surely, this would solve our financial problems. 

A very small fraction of less than one percent of all distributors in North America 
in any given year ever achieve this level. This was almost like winning the Olympics. 
Amway called and interviewed us for a story. This, along with our picture, was for 
publication in their national magazine called the Amagram. They also gave us a free web 
page with our pictures and biographical information on it. We qualified for more trips 
and new bonuses. This was an exciting time. It had been an incredibly hard journey. 



' DeVos, Rich, Hope From My Heart (Endorsement by D. James Kennedy, Ph.D. Senior Minister Coral 
Ridge) 



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Finally, we would have the six-figure income and, therefore, the freedom we had 
slaved for. All this hard work would have to pay off. It was all going to have been worth 
it now, and we would have time for the family and each other. At the seminar, we were 
brought on stage to the applause of somewhere near 7,000 screaming, clapping 
distributors. God was once again using us to inspire others. We delivered a powerful 
speech that was later made into a tape-of-the-week and sold internationally. We did not 
get paid anything for this tape, as it was an honor to speak on a Walters/Yager stage. Our 
credibility in the organization grew. People treated us more and more as if we possessed 
a large amount of wisdom. 

We were invited to speak at other leadership functions. We would get paid $900, 
as Amway Emeralds, to do an all-day seminar. We would do this only two or three times 
a year. It was wonderful to be able to inspire people and teach them principles of success. 
Public speaking had been my greatest fear, but I had studied the best speakers and 
became good at entertaining an audience and drawing them in emotionally while I taught 
them. I could paint a vivid picture of what their future looked like without The Business. 
I could also paint a compelling vision of the limitless possibilities that their futures held if 
they only persisted. They needed to have staying power and keep their eyes focused on 
the prize. The word 'quit' had to be erased from their vocabularies. It did not exist, and it 
was not an option. 

Kathy was always nervous about public speaking, as she was, basically, a very 
private person. I would help her organize her notes ahead of time in an effort to ease her 
mind. She was so scared but when she spoke, yet she was incredible. She was not slick 
and didn't use practiced techniques, but she spoke from her heart. She seemed able to 
communicate in a few minutes what I could not in an hour. I always sat on the side of the 
stage, right behind the curtain, so I could see and hear her. I was so proud of her. When 
she finished speaking and was recognized with a standing ovation, it was difficult for me 
to compose myself to speak next. I was in awe of her heroism and what she was willing 
to go through to help others. 

We anxiously waited for our first big month of Emerald income. We could finally 
back off a little and have some time together as a family. The day our bonus check from 
Amway arrived, we opened it with great anticipation-only to find there was almost no 
reward. Our check had remained virtually the same. Our income went up to near a paltry 
$30,000 a year. We were shocked. I had left my corporate career for the $100,000 income 
at this level. This was so confusing. What could we possibly be doing wrong, when 
everyone else was making so much money? We had to get with Zack and Molly and sort 
this out. Our financial situation was getting worse and worse. Going Emerald was 
supposed to have solved all of our economic worries. 

Kerry and Chris summoned us for a counseling session. This was another secret 
meeting, where we were told that whatever was shared at that meeting could not be 
discussed with anyone else. They talked about what we had already accidentally 
discovered. There was a small price break given to Emeralds for each seminar ticket sold 
in their organization. It was once again stressed that this was a small perk to cover our 
travel expenses and to help us stock more tools to have on hand for our group. It was not 
income to be used for lifestyle. Big deal, I thought. It didn't cover much of anything. I 
couldn't share this, however, with Kerry and Chris. 

Since we had gone Emerald and they had not, their attitude became more hostile 



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towards us. We had started out as friends and partners in Amway. Now, their talks 
became more and more hardcore at training sessions that I was forced to have my group 
attend. Not only were we targets, but our leaders soon were singled out as disloyal. Kerry 
and Chris were no longer relating well. They seemed to have become 'Amway zombies.' 

They cut off nearly all information sources and bragged that their TV was only 
hooked up to a VCR. They boasted that the only TV they watched were Amway 
motivational or instructional business videos. We would speak first at a large training 
session and try to bring normalcy. We would describe The Business as just a vehicle to 
bring about the lifestyle we wanted. We were also as active as we could manage to be at 
the small Christian school that our children attended, and I had been elected president of 
the parent-teacher fellowship. A balance was important in life, even though we didn't 
display this too much ourselves; yet Kerry and Chris would then get up and close the 
meeting by stating that this business was their whole life and drone on and on about total 
loyalty. They just had a handful of distributors in their business outside of what we had 
built. Most of the rest had all quit. 

It was odd that we were bringing almost 95% of the distributors to a meeting, yet 
had no control over the topics to be covered. They were upline and used the meetings as a 
forum to discuss abortion or whatever topic they wanted. This was getting out of hand. 
They had lost almost their entire organization from this overzealous, nearly rabid 
conviction to our upline and Amway. We called Zack and Molly and asked to counsel 
with them. We got on their schedule and went down to visit them at their new office 
building. 

We arrived a few minutes early and brought a small food tray as a gift to show 
respect. They greeted us warmly, and we went up into the boardroom. Zack had a way of 
taking over the entire conversation, and you sometimes would only get to listen to him 
and never get to the questions you had. We had to discuss our over $70,000 shortfall of 
income at the Emerald level, as well as Kerry and Chris's increasingly destructive 
behavior. I began to discuss our finances. Other Pearls and Emeralds openly spoke of 
their six-figure incomes. What could we possibly be doing wrong? Zack immediately 
launched into a talk that we would soon find all too familiar. 

First, he made it clear that he was not a bank and did not make loans to anyone in 
his group as a policy, and we should have the same policy. This went on and on, and he 
made us feel stupid. He made it look as if, in a humiliating way, we had come to ask him 
for money, when we had the greatest financial vehicle in the world in our own hands. We 
did not want a cent of his! We simply wanted to make the income that we had worked 
nearly 100 hours a week for eight years for, without it being destroyed by an out-of- 
control upline. 

The next speech was about jealousy and envy. If we were worried about his 
money or what other Emeralds or Pearls were making, Satan had put envy in our hearts to 
confuse us. Only a socialist or a loser would concern himself with the income of another. 
No wonder we weren't making a lot if our focus was on what other people were making. 
God would not reward envy. He rewards work and a pure heart. The person responsible 

for my income could be found in the mirror in our house blah, blah, blah, blah.... 

What a bunch of crap. We just wanted to know how to make our business profitable. 
What was going on? This verbal rampage made it very clear that income was not 
something we could talk about with him. This was our hero, my father figure. I not only 



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wanted to succeed but to make him proud. He made us feel like morons for asking any 
questions. 

He then lambasted me for not being prepared to counsel by not having my group 
drawn out on paper. Having your group drawn out is a schematic of your organization 
with each distributor represented by a circle and connected by lines to their respective 
upline and downline. The group had gotten far too big to do that, and he had told me that 
it was not necessary about a year ago. There was no way he could counsel me to move a 
"blob" forward. He needed to see the way the group was structured to give us accurate 
advice, he advised. We had wasted his time as well as our own. In a later counseling 
session, I brought our group carefully drawn out on several large pieces of poster board. 
This time, Zack lambasted me for wasting my time with such a project. 

On this occasion, he left the room to use the bathroom. Molly could see from our 
shell-shocked look that something was wrong. She asked if Zack had told us to come 
with our group drawn out. We replied that we been following his directions. She just said 
not to bring it next time and got quiet when he got back. She seemed fearful herself, and 
we realized that no one questioned Zack-not even his own wife. This was hard for us to 
even understand for reasons that would not be clear to us for years to come. 

Despite how the meeting started, we had to bring up the situation with Kerry and 
Chris again. We were having people quit The Business over having to deal with them or 
even listen to them at meetings. Kerry seemed to become more and more arrogant as time 
progressed. People from outside of our organization came and complained to us. Others 
said that they would get in The Business if we promised that they would never have to 
deal with him. We had very gently apprised Zack countless times of this situation. 

His response was almost always one of the following. There is no problem. You 
are the problem. You need to be more positive. You need to edify better. Who among us 
is Christ-like and without fault? Didn't we solve this? You're a leader, and we are still 
dealing with this? Do you really want to go Diamond? What kind of example do you 
want to set for your group? Do not ever let your group know you disagree with anything 
the upline does. This is going to cost us a lot if we don't get over it. No wonder we're not 
making more money if we are so hung up on the negative. We need to read more books. 
We needed to promote, edify, and protect Kerry and Chris better. We needed to develop 
more respect for them as our leaders. Only losers nit pick, complain, and find fault... 
blah, blah, blah, blah. . . 

They told us, as they had many times before, that we could double our income in 
the next three months. It was harder when they started. Near the end they would always 
let off on the verbal assault and then shift to becoming supportive, warm, and 
compassionate. They told us that they believed in us, loved us, and saw us as Diamonds. 
We just needed to rise above our challenges. They told us that next year the Emerald 
bonus would come in from Amway and that would help out with our growing debts. 

We left in shock. We loved, respected, and also now completely feared Zack. It 
was a strange mixture of conflicting emotions. He was not at all the man we saw on 
stage. He was beginning to reveal a side of himself that the public never knew. We felt 
very sorry that Kerry and Chris were sabotaging their own business. We had thought that 
Zack would address the situation. For some reason, he was determined to turn a deaf ear 
to these shortcomings. Part of the reason for this could be that Kerry was totally, 
unquestioningly loyal. He would do almost nothing without Zack's counsel. Kathy and I 



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joked that he must call Zack to find out how many squares of toilet tissue to use. It was 
getting pretty crazy. 



'We could never go to war, you'd have to check upline first. 

- Amway Crown Jody Victor' 



Kerry began to carry a gun in a fanny pack to almost all functions. He spoke of 
taking a street gunfight, survival course. We were now entering a whole new realm of 
strange. I came backstage after giving a motivational talk to the group and found him 
openly brandishing a loaded revolver with a large group of my closest friends thirty feet 
away on the other side of a portable wall. This violated all safety standards for handling a 
firearm. I have a gun. I am not afraid of firearms, as my father was an NRA instructor. 
Because we couldn't call Zack on this issue, we called Kerry's sponsor, who was a Direct 
distributor and also happens to be his brother-in-law. I informed him that Kerry had 
openly displayed a loaded revolver at an Amway training meeting and was carrying it at 
other seminars. He responded, "A lot of guys up there carry guns." I was dumbfounded. 
There were no rules that applied if you are upline, period. 



"Even though I understand, some people have to be killed. It 
would be a lot easier for me to pull the trigger if I thought 
someone was killing you than to pull the trigger if I knew 
they were trying to kill me" 

- Dexter Yager, Part II Tuesday Evening ' 



We helped a couple in our group go Emerald, and they unfortunately experienced 
the same hostility from Kerry and Chris, and then the same wrath from Zack for 
discussing it. The four of us seemed to have been branded as disloyal. For reasons we 
would not understand until years later, we still very much believed in Zack and the 
integrity of this great business. We decided we would both go Diamond, and then the 
truth would be clear to Zack and Molly. We would be free to build our organizations 
without interference. In the meantime, we wrapped our people in a protective cocoon of 
silence. We let no one in our organizations know of the challenges we were facing. 
Maybe this was just the trial that God would use to mold and shape us, as we became 
Diamonds. However, we needed to make sure that all people in our organization would 
be treated with dignity and respect. 

Kerry had been running security at the large seminars for Zack. He recruited some 
of my Direct distributors to act as his informal police force. Some carried guns in ankle 
holsters or fanny packs. We found out that they were in charge of counting large 



' Jody Victor, It's Unbelievable, audiotape Stock No. DBR 897, copyright unknown 

' Dexter and Birdie Yager, Tuesday Evening Part II, audiotape Stock No. GDL 95-29, copyright Internet 

Services Corporation 



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quantities of cash from the door sales of leadership tickets. They did this in a secret 
location, loading the cash into a briefcase or suitcase, and then getting it onto Zack's 
coach. A volunteer staff of Direct distributors, who were thankful to serve the group, ran 
these large seminars, which had thousands in attendance. Some of my leaders would pay 
over $400 as a couple to get to a seminar, and then they would work the entire weekend, 
missing almost every speaker. 

Zack entrusted me with the job of running the backstage of these seminars. I 
would coordinate with the hosts assigned to each speaker. We would ensure that a 
limousine was at the airport to pick them up on time. The hosts were also responsible to 
get the speaker backstage a half-hour before they were to speak. This gave me direct 
contact with many of the Diamonds as well as the highest level of religious and political 
leaders in the country. It was an exciting duty, but it was also grueling. I'd be on my feet 
from about 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. each day. We, too, had paid over $400 to attend, but 
Kathy would sit alone at a table up front reserved for Emeralds and Diamonds. Now, we 
did get a break on ticket sales for these seminars. For some of these huge events, Kathy 
and I would have brought 10% of the entire crowd. For that, we received about a $400 
break for ticket sales. So it was a wash for us financially rather than an income source. 

Some of my Directs really needed to attend the seminar meetings to build their 
confidence. It bothered me that, being on duty, they missed the entire seminar, and their 
businesses were not growing. I asked Kerry to rotate different crews through this duty, 
but that did not ever happen. He had developed a few that were totally loyal to him, and 
they would do whatever he asked. Some, despite terrible financial condition, were even 
asked to use their own funds to purchase high-end, handheld CB radios to run Zack's 
seminars. I told them not to buy their own; after all, Zack could afford it. This seemed 
like taking advantage. Things that I spoke out against like this further branded me as 
being disloyal. / was loyal, very loyal, to my upline and my downline both. Why was it 
wrong if I tried to help? I was beginning to get confused. 

Now, after a couple thousand hours of tapes, there was no limit as to what I would 
do for my business or my organization. I developed kidney stones one day and barely 
made it to the hospital emergency room. The medical staff administered morphine several 
times, but this gave me no relief. I had never experienced pain like that before. I thought 
they were giving me a placebo, because the pain did not subside. They finally hit me with 
a harder narcotic that gave me a merciful numbness. 

What a relief! I had to get out of there! I had committed to doing an open 
opportunity meeting in Zack's group, to be held at a large hotel several hours away in 
Philadelphia. I left the hospital in a very weak, but pain-free state. I found a couple 
distributors who could drive me down. After a quick shave and shower, I slid into a fresh 
suit and eased myself gingerly into the car. I was in relatively good shape by the time we 
arrived. 

The host was in the lobby waiting to greet us. I did not initially mention the day's 
events as that would be "passing negative." The host went to the podium and began my 
introduction. As was my habit, I said a silent prayer and prepared to reach anyone in the 
room that wanted to make their life better. By the time I walked to the podium, I was 
fully energized. The meeting went well, and I spoke with great enthusiasm for about an 
hour and a half. I was really starting to hurt by the end but was able to mask the pain. 
After the meeting, we greeted guests and answered questions. Once all the prospects left, 



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we got together with the distributors for a late night teaching meeting called a "nuts and 
bolts" session. The pain was intensifying rapidly. 

Fortunately, I was able to make it though and fulfill my responsibilities. How 
could I teach my leaders commitment if I did not live it? Thank God, the host for the 
evening was a dentist. He drove us to an all-night pharmacy and got me some pills to 
knock me out for the return trip. We headed back up the long, dark highway with a tape 
playing, and I drifted off to sleep. I felt content in knowing that I was doing all I could 
do, and we would soon be at the Diamond level. 

On another occasion, I had committed to fly to Baton Rouge to do meetings for 
Paul and Tammy. They were ready to get their business going. I bought the ticket, cleared 
my schedule, and coached Paul on how to invite people, so we would have some 
successful meetings. A day before I left, it began to rain unceasingly. It was one of those 
heavy, drenching rains. It rained all day and throughout the night. The creek across from 
our home had risen alarmingly, but there was nothing that I could do to stop it. I'm not 
Moses. 

I could, however, keep my word to my family and a couple far away, who were 
counting on me. I went to our airport and settled into a window seat. I peered into the 
gloom as we took off, noticing that as we circled to gain altitude, we actually flew 
directly over my neighborhood. My home was completely surrounded by dark, muddy 
floodwaters that had spilled over the bank. My family was safe, since they were out of the 
house. Most people would have cancelled the trip, but then again, most people would 
never be Diamonds. 



One for the Money, Two for the Show 

A travel seminar was arranged for all Direct distributors and above — a cruise to 
Alaska. It was promoted for quite a long time, as 'every leader will be there.' I was 
concerned about the expense, since some of these trips (none of which we had ever 
missed) had cost as much as $2,000 in airfare, hotels, and meeting fees. We were barely 
able to borrow enough to keep going at this point. But we figured we had to be close to 
our big paycheck soon. Once everyone was excited about the trip that 'every leader 
would be on,' the cost was announced: $5,000.00. 1 was shocked. None of us could afford 
that! 

We had to book the trip with a special form through a specific travel agency 
chosen by Zack. No exceptions to this were allowed. A woman in our organization who 
was an inactive Silver (Direct) and owner of a travel agency would later tell us that this 
was nearly double the cost of what she could have booked for the group. Every 'leader' 
had to put down a $1,000 deposit on faith, and the rest was collected in increments. Not 
only were the Directs pressured to prove their 'leadership' by doing this, non-Directs 
were pressured as well. At one seminar of thousands, all distributors were advised to put 
down their $1,000 on faith that they would go Direct in time to qualify for the trip. 

If they had not become Directs by then, they could not go, because this was a trip 
only for Directs. There would be absolutely no refunds. We had distributors at only 1,000 
PV 'prove their faith' by putting down their non-refundable $1,000 deposit. Many were 
advised to walk by faith not sight. Faith was defined as believing what could be, not what 



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was actually in front of them at that moment. It was a fiasco. We had many distributors in 
our organization lose their whole deposit. We later learned that Zack and Molly, 
however, enjoyed the trip, staying in a sprawling presidential suite with a private outside 
deck. On one excursion to shore, Molly bought a five-carat ring. 

Kathy and I worked and struggled, and there was no possible way for us to come 
up with the additional $4,000. We, of course, as leaders, had scraped together and mailed 
in our $1,000 non-refundable deposit. We were tapped out and had nowhere else we 
could possibly borrow the money. We were now in a terrible predicament. But as leaders, 
we had to promote this trip and were pushed to 'get our numbers up.' This was another 
opportunity for our leaders to spend personal time with Zack and Molly. We were told 
that alone was worth more than $5,000 if they applied what they learned. 

We called Zack and told him we could not make it. He was disappointed that I 
was not being more of a possibility thinker. He asked if we could borrow the money we 
needed in order to go on this trip. He knew from counseling us that we were completely 
tapped out, but I ashamedly, once again, repeated the current status of our exhausted 
finances and burgeoning debt. He thought for a minute and advised me that I should sell 
Amway vacuum cleaners to raise the money. He was pathetically out of touch with the 
reality of how his distributors lived. This trip was not a good idea, and I resented that we, 
along with our leaders, were being pressured to waste our meager resources on something 
so opulent. Not a single one of us would have chosen to do this on our own. 

How many vacuum cleaners would I have to sell to make the additional $4,000? 
We had never been able to sell a single vacuum cleaner outside of the organization. They 
cost about $300 more than one from Wal-Mart and are incredibly heavy. He chided us 
and reminded us that we had a few months left, and he knew that I was a resourceful 
leader and would come up with the money somehow. 

We were not able to do this and were at the point where we could not justify it 
with our devastated financial picture. At the last minute, we sent, in shame, a voice mail 
to our leaders saying that we were running for a big goal, and Zack suggested that we 
stay home and hit it. It was a lie, and I felt terrible. They were very disappointed, as quite 
a few were going on this trip and hoped that we could spend a lot of time with them. 
They were our leaders and closest friends. We agonized over our situation. In almost a 
decade, we had never missed a single leadership meeting, except when I was in Paul's 
wedding. We pressed on harder toward our Diamond goal to make up for it. 



On the Defensive 

As we built toward Diamond, the group, as a whole, began to get a great deal of 
flack from two web sites off the Internet. One site was hosted by a man named Sidney 
Schwartz. His web site was called Amway the Untold Story. A man named Ashley Wilkes 
created and hosted a site called AMO's: The Nightmare Builders? Ashley was the one 
who coined the term Amway Motivational Organization (AMO). We would be out 
showing the plan, and prospects would have twenty pages of negative garbage printed off 
these sites. I often thought that these two guys were real losers. Who else would take so 
much time out of their lives to put down a good and honorable business? Despite how 
bizarre Dexter seemed, the business itself was principled and was predicated upon 



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servant hood. I thought at times about meeting the two men and beating them 
unmercifully. They were the enemy. I hoped something terrible would happen to them 
both. They were evil. They were a threat to my family's future. (The indoctrination had 
worked all too well.) 

The Amway business and its related system had by now completely taken 
ownership of nearly every aspect of our lives. Due to the gradual indoctrination over 
years, we were completely unaware of what was happening. We had surrendered our life, 
all our money, our careers, and our family time to what we believed was "our" business. 
We had lost touch with most of our extended family members and any friends outside of 
The Business. We no longer seemed to have much in common with them. We maintained 
a few relationships but spent very little time with non-Amway people. 

Seldom could we schedule any social event as The Business now took nearly 
every weekend. In the rare event we could get together with a friend or family member 
on the outside, we had very little we could talk about. We no longer watched the news, 
listened to the radio, or read newspapers. We knew almost nothing of current events. 
They did not want to be recruited into Amway, and The Business was all we now knew 
how to talk about with any confidence. 

Deep inside we knew something was wrong but did not know what. In our minds, 
The Business was only a financial vehicle to give our family a secure future and time 
together. The destruction of our family unit and marriage was so gradual we hadn't 
noticed it happening. On one level, we were very unhappy; but on the other hand, we felt 
that we were close to what we had worked so hard to achieve. There was no turning back. 
That was not an option we could even conceive. By now, we had been thoroughly 
convinced that this was the only way we could succeed and serve our God and family to 
our highest potential. 

I was gone constantly. My used Cadillac now had over 200,000 miles on it. When 
I was home, I was useless. I felt like such a failure. Distributors were so strongly 
conditioned, that many of us felt guilty when we were home, because we were not out 
being productive for the ones we loved. It was awful. I would be at home for a few 
minutes with the people I loved most in life, and I would feel guilty for being there. We 
were quickly going broke, despite our supposed incredible success advertised by our 
upline. We felt enormous guilt for being at this level and making less than what we 
believed everyone else was making. We were successful failures. I had to push on to 
Diamond. It was the only option. 

Kathy and I handled these stresses differently. A year after we made our exodus 
from Amway, she explained that she had to withdraw emotionally from me just to 
survive. She lived in fear every night that I would die on the road. Distributors had died 
on the road, and we knew some that had had terrible car accidents. I was running in a 
near constant state of exhaustion, and the rumble strips on the side of the highway woke 
me up more than once as my car ran off the road. 

We were both very unhappy but did not speak of it, as that would be "passing 
negative" and showing a lack of faith. I felt miserable and believed that I was a total 
failure as a husband, father and leader. On the outside, we were the perfect picture of 
success, but we were going further and further into debt to travel to these mandatory 
lifestyle/travel meetings that Zack planned in places like Hawaii or Florida. We looked 
great! We wore tuxedos and gowns and were cheered with standing ovations at seminars 



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we attended. Some success! We looked good on the outside, but we were just plain dead 
broke. 



Dream or Nightmare? 

"I guess there's nothing more exciting to know you're right 
where God wants you to be and doing exactly what He wants 
you to do and being precisely in His will." 

- Triple Diamond Cherry Meadows' 

Kathy was now essentially a single mother. She continued to take care of all the 
household chores, the mounting bills, our children, product and tool orders and pick up, 
public speaking, counseling and was still a good, supportive wife. She had become a 
wonder woman and also was running in an ongoing state of exhaustion from our frantic 
schedule. 

We were both terribly unhappy with this lifestyle, but we had no one that we 
could speak to in confidence. We were not allowed to confide negative feelings upline, 
because this was seen as a sign of weakness. Zack would even say that he could tell in a 
few minutes of conversation if someone was negative. If they were, they were not reading 
enough books or listening to enough tapes. Even worse, you might just be considered to 
be psychologically lazy, especially if you had positive resources and did not use them 
wisely. 

We both became emotionally muted. We felt no highs or lows. We were very 
numb. Our own internal defense systems seemed to be trying to block out all the pain of 
being apart. The stress of our crumbling finances and the contradictions that we were 
seeing in our trusted upline leadership were taking a toll on both of us. 

Finally, Kathy had had enough, and unbeknownst to me, she stopped listening to 
the tapes at home. This initiated a radical change, as she soon started seeing with more 
discernment than I could muster. She never had liked Zack, and to her, he seemed more 
and more like an egotistical bully than a Christian mentor. I still firmly believed he was a 
good honorable man, who just could not see the entire hostile situation with our sponsors. 
Once he saw the whole picture, he would do something about it, and everything would 
change. 

Years earlier, I had met a kind, charismatic, and successful financial planner 
named Frank Fauble. I had met him and his wife while showing the plan in depth in one 
of our larger groups. They were both kind people, and I sensed that he was someone that 
I could trust completely. Our finances were already destroyed after years in Amway. 
Going Diamond was my only way out. Even though we could not invest anything with 
Frank to plan for our future, we began to send him distributors that we had counseled. He 
could do wonders with even $100 a month for people and could help them reduce their 
taxes with different strategies. I referred quite a few of our leaders to him. He was a 



' Cherry Meadows, Ladies Meeting Tuesday Afternoon Part II, audiotape Stock No. GDL 96-26 
Copyright Internet Services Corporation 



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Christian man who lived by biblical principles and had never violated the trust that I 
placed in him. 

By now, Kerry had planted a few spies in my group to keep an eye on what was 
really happening. They were Direct Distributors who were not making any money in The 
Business but got a feeling of importance by working with him on the security team for 
Zack. In a strange way, reporting on my activities made them seem more loyal to the 
upline. While this was irritating, I had nothing to hide. 

One night, I was driving back from a meeting in New York with one of these 
"security spooks," and he confided in me about the state of his horrible finances. I 
recommended he meet with Frank to help him get back on track. We had a long drive, 
and we soon dropped this subject and moved on to other ones. I had so many other things 
to worry about that I soon forgot this conversation. 

Around three weeks later, we had an Emerald and Diamond meeting with Zack. 
Out of the blue, he started on a rampage about being stupid and referring people in our 
group to a Christian financial planner. He hurled questions and comments like, "What if 
he was negative on The Business? If he was so smart, why wasn't he wealthy? The only 
person we should get our financial advice from is our upline Diamond. Stop being 
stupid." 

Something in my spirit felt this was wrong. I continued, at great risk, to secretly 
refer my closest distributors to Frank. At the same time, I was putting Frank off with 
regard to my own finances, because I was virtually destitute. Despite this ugly truth, I 
was sending him distributor/clients who told him how well I was doing. 

Because of my training as an auditor, I am very good with numbers. Before The 
Business, I was a good money manager and had invested well in real estate. Kathy and I 
had gotten to the point where, in our twenties, we had paid off all our college loans, 
consumer debt, credit cards and even our cars. We had become debt free, except for a 
first mortgage on our home. 

What a different picture we presented now! I had been convinced by my upline 
that by going Diamond, I would make $250,000 a year. That actually seemed like my 
only out, as we had by now acquired nearly $100,000 in new debt while counseling with 
Zack. We weren't making the reported $100,000 Emerald income — far from it. 
Routinely, we received conflicting advice. We would be told that a real man gets out of 
debt and solves the money problem. We would then be told that a true leader does not 
ever miss any leadership event, for any reason. Not to be considered "plugged in" was 
the kiss of death in the business. If you fell from favor, you would be taken off the 
speaking list for open meetings and seminars and would then lose credibility in your own 
organization, which had been well trained to follow their "plugged in" upline. 

Despite all that seemed to be going wrong, I was able to meet and sponsor several 
strangers to begin the run for Diamond. We had to have six legs qualifying at over 7500 
PV for six months, and I told myself that then all those problems would be behind us. 
Zack and Molly would know that we were good leaders, and our finances would improve 
drastically. These new recruits soon became good friends, as I drove with them as far 
away as Maine to help develop their organizations. I worked like I never thought was 
physically possible. I blocked out the negative thoughts, as I had been trained and 
listened to ten or more tapes on long trips. 

Kathy had cooled off on The Business. Thank God! In the midst of this insanity, 



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she could see clearly that our children needed at least one good parent, and she poured 
her energies into them. For that, I will be forever grateful to her. She was somehow able 
to provide a sense of normalcy for them. She still went with me on the speaking trips and 
to meetings, and we both hated how much we were required to be away from home as 
Emeralds. We each just coped with this in our own ways. 

Meanwhile, I had so much going on in my mind that I began to space out on 
Kathy and the kids. They would be talking to me at dinner and would have to ask me the 
same question four or five times before I heard it. I was almost a literal zombie. The only 
times when I could appear normal were when I was actively involved in doing the tasks 
of sponsoring and teaching distributors. I could go on autopilot and fake joy and 
enthusiasm as I motivated groups of people. 

It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment when even I had to acknowledge the dream 
had become a nightmare. But, out of nowhere, began an intensely miserable season in 
which I lost faith in one "story" after another. It was almost like being blind, then having 
an operation that restored only a little bit of my sight. The frightening part was that I was 
either seeing things I did not want to see or things I did not understand. It was as though 
there was darkness around me, and also a darkness within me that I could not 
comprehend. 

I wrote off these strange sensations as stress from the massive financial pressures 
we were experiencing. We were struggling to pay our property taxes on our home and 
owed the IRS back taxes. We had to move forward to Diamond. I had to believe it was 
the only way out. Zack heard what I said about our finances, but continued to advise me 
to press on and even told me to go Diamond, because I surely did not want to get a "job." 
A job represented slavery and, furthermore, would destroy the group that we had worked 
so hard to build. 

Amway distributor leaders often equated having a job to slavery. Dexter Yager, 
allegedly the most powerful of them all, read this story at an Emerald and Diamond 
meeting. 

This is many years ago the plantation and slave owners were 
faced with a difficult decision. To continue the practice of slavery in the 
face of growing opposition or to give into the forces that be and to release 
the slaves from their captivity. As would be expected, they were divided. 
In a resolve, they were divided in their resolve until one of them, a very 
bright and successful scholar made the following proposal. Why not grant 
the slaves their freedom? They have no real property to farm, no business 
with which to support themselves and thus will still be dependent upon us 
for support. 

We can parcel out land to them, land which we will still own, and 
allow them to share a small part of all they produce. Not only did they 
maintain the control of their slaves, but the slaves thought they were free. 
And so the rebellion and opposition ceased. A wonderful idea at which 
the owners all agreed, so great, in fact, was this idea that all owners grew 
to love it. Not only did the slaves appear to be free, but the owner were 
not responsible for feeding them or providing shelter or transportation or 
medical care. Since the slaves were now responsible for their own food, 



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clothing, shelter and medical care, a new label seemed appropriate, and 
the term "employee" was created. Few of the slaves, I'm sorry, I meant 
employees, had enough extra to really get ahead. And the owners were 
behind the scenes working to keep them where they were. Thus, the labor 
pool grew stable and large. 

Eventually all owners realized that the benefits were great and 
began using this system which has long since crossed the color line. 
Today, owner still use slaves, oops, sorry, I meant employees, to do the 
work they don't want to. Slaves, oops, sorry, employees, still get a small 
part of all they produce, provide their own housing, transportation, food 
and in some cases medical care. Many things have changed in this 
country since the abolition of slavery, and yet for the overwhelming 
majority of the people, things are pretty much the same. 1 

At some point later, things seemed to pick up, and we were hand picked by Zack 
to fly to Argentina to speak to his organization. Kathy and I did not have business there, 
but by now, our organization had grown into Colombia and was soon to spread into 
Europe and the Philippines. We flew down to Argentina from Miami and were met by a 
translator and a driver. We were treated very well and were driven far inland to a city 
called Rosario. We fell in love with the people there. They were so kind and gracious. 
Some of them had tears welling up in their eyes as we encouraged them. It was a 
powerful event for us and for them. They were so hungry for knowledge that I ended up 
dropping Kathy off at our room at about 2:00 a.m. Then, I stayed up answering questions 
for some of the leaders until 5:00 a.m. Finally, I had to get back to the hotel and catch a 
few hours sleep, because we had a training session to do that morning. We developed a 
deep bond with these beautiful people and again felt like God was using us for good. 

We flew home and our organization was once again energized. The business was 
working after having seen a couple they knew, like us, start from nothing, go Emerald 
and begin to travel the world. It was a thrill for us to do this and felt even better that we 
appeared to be in good favor with Zack. We were paid $900 for nearly a week's work for 
the two of us in the form of a speaking fee. This wasn't much; it might not even work out 
to minimum wage after we paid taxes on it, but we were honored to be part of the 
leadership team. 

The group we had in the U.S. was enthralled at Amway's global expansion. Japan 
had embraced Amway and within twelve years was doing over a billion dollars a year 
there. China was opened, giving one of the largest populations on earth access to this 
"great opportunity." Chinatowns in nearly every U.S. city were overrun with distributors, 
looking to sponsor people with relatives or friends in China, just to get a piece of the 
action. We were advised that Amway was now growing at a billion dollars a year in 
sales. Amway was quickly becoming a dominant, global enterprise with the apparent 
support and praise of many of America's most influential religious and political leaders. 
Dexter Yager may not have been exaggerating when he told us in an Emerald and 
Diamond-only meeting that Amway was going to be a "trillion dollar company." 2 



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"And I don't care whether it's your family or who. ..that 
would tell your kids you're foolish doing this business, those 
people you don't need in your life. You've got to make those 
decisions. " 

- Amway Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager ' 



With this success for inspiration, I finally got the courage to show my father and 
his wife The Business. One of the key motivators that drove Kathy and me to succeed 
was that we wanted to be in a position to help our parents. This was a dream come true in 
many ways. We could build a father-son business and spend a lot of time together doing 
it. As he and his wife lived six hours away, we normally only saw them once a year. If 
they were in The Business, we could justify many more road trips to see them. I loved my 
dad and his wife. Having grown up living with my mother, I was finally getting to know 
my real dad, and I relished our time together. 

More than anything, I also wanted him to be proud of me. Even though I was an 
adult, I wanted him to be proud that he was my father. I dreamed of dad and his wife, 
Kelly, coming to a seminar where Kathy and I would be the featured speakers before an 
audience of thousands. I often visualized the day we would go Diamond, picturing him 
there for the celebration. I began making trips to their home and sponsored some people 
for him. However, it did not work out. I could not get them sold on buying our products 
and listening to the many tapes that, I believed, were vital to their success. I was 
frustrated that I could not get them to understand the value of being mentored by 
millionaires. Also, Kelly felt the Amway products were far more expensive than those 
she normally purchased. I was very disappointed, as I thought we could have been a 
dream team in The Business. This offered me more encouragement to go Diamond to 
show them it was worth it. By now, I was trained to the point where the greater the 
adversity, the more committed I was to the cause. 

The Global Amway Empire was exploding, and we were part of it. Ten years 
from now, everyone was going to wish that they had been us, and they had done what we 
had done. Despite the good news on the global front, things were happening that made us 
uneasy. Zack and Kerry both became almost militant in the demands that they placed 
upon their loyal distributors. There was no room for anything but total, 100%, 
unquestioning loyalty. There were three key leaders in Zack's organization, who were 
nearly fanatical in their talks on loyalty. Some even mentioned that they were willing to 
die for Zack, as he had sacrificed selflessly to help them have a full life and future. These 
three also seemed to be making the most income. 

Part of me felt as if I needed to be more humble and more fully submit to this 
leadership, and part of me thought they were raving lunatics. I would not be like that nor 
would I ever expect that type of relationship from people in my group. We would go 
Diamond and treat our distributors as partners, not servants. It was supposed to be our 
business, wasn't it? I resented the fact that Zack was portrayed as a humble servant, but 



' Dexter Yager, What is This All About? Audiotape Stock No. YNMI-1 Copyright Internet Services 
Corporation 



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in private, he treated his leaders worse than domestic help. Many of us detailed his luxury 
cars, polished his huge coach, and did other work around his properties. Some of my 
Direct distributors, whose finances were now terrible, were excited to serve; their 
honorable intentions often turned them into unpaid servants. 

Zack was almost a dictator behind the scenes, but at times, he was still warm and 
compassionate. He was brilliant, charismatic and could make you feel great about 
yourself and your business. He could also, with a single comment, knock your legs out 
from under you in front of your group or in front of other leaders. Two Diamond women 
that we knew confided in us that they dreaded counseling with him, because they were 
scared of him. His own family seemed fearful of him at times. Molly told Kathy how 
much fun she and the kids had when he went away on trips. They had a wonderful time 
for a few days and then would scamper about to complete the list of tasks that he had left 
for them. 

We spent time with Dexter once or twice a year. We would always see him at the 
annual Go Diamond seminars for Direct distributors and above. One year, we went to 
New Orleans where the seminar was held in the Superdome. It was an enormous meeting 
that once again reaffirmed The Business was working in a big way. It was powerful to 
see what appeared to be tens of thousands of distributors all at the Direct level and above. 
We would usually arrive on a Friday when these functions started. The Directs would 
leave on Sunday, and the rest of us higher-level leaders would have meetings through 
Tuesday night. It was expensive, motivating, and grueling, all at the same time. 

Dexter has been known to speak literally until sunrise, on occasion. Not 
surprisingly, we were usually exhausted by Sunday. The Emerald meetings then began on 
Monday. I had never been more tired in my life, not in Marine Corps training, not 
anywhere. Zack had always professed his total allegiance to Dexter but did not talk about 
him much at all, outside of talks on loyalty. Many of the Diamonds also spoke with deep 
admiration and sincerity about Dexter. In our organization, in an unspoken way, Zack 
was clearly the leader — but it was implied that we were fortunate also to have access to 
the system Dexter had created. We normally had a seminar called the Yager Spectacular, 
but for a couple years, we had other speakers on stage to share. We were told Dexter was 
busy, but I did not buy it. The seminar eventually was called something like Walters 
Spectacular, and Dexter was invited in. Zack advised us, prior to leaving for one Go 
Diamond Seminar, not to sign anything that Dexter or his people gave us until his 
attorney had a chance to review it for us. He would not tell us any more than that. We 
would later find out that this was the BSMAA (Business Support Materials Arbitration 
Agreement) that Kathy and I would eventually he forced to sign. 



"Cults often use practices such as mind control to create 
loyalty in their followers."* 



1 DEX: TUES. EVENING, PART II audiotape GDL 96-40 Part II Copyright 1996 Internet Services 
Corporation 



Smith, P.W., Hayes, C.P., McRoberts, K.D., In Search of Truth, Springfield, MO: Radiant Life 



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Ibid. 



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CHAPTER 9 



Strife Within 
and Without 



'We can't all be lying to you. You know... I mean this thing 

works." 

- Executive Diamond M. J. Michael* 



We had a new challenge. We had helped a couple named Rick and Paula go 
Emerald. We had been building our business on our own since the 4000 PV level, so 
Kerry and Chris hardly knew them, or the leaders we had helped develop in their 
organization. Rick and Paula were level headed and had treated their distributors with 
respect. They, too, were outraged at the somewhat mindless, arrogant talks we were 
forced to have our groups sit through. They, too, were disgusted at how our people were 
being financially bled dry to pay for a seemingly unending list of required books, tapes, 
and videos. Our leaders were also asked to pay $400 or more in expenses for individual 
big seminars, and then couldn't hear the messages, because they were working for free. 
They did not feel they could say no, as they would appear disloyal or unwilling to serve 
the group. 

Rick and Paula also had been branded as disloyal and had felt the wrath of Kerry. 
They had made the critical error of questioning upline decisions, when these seemed to 
be detrimental to their group. We were powerless to protect our own people. The 
situation was not workable. It seemed as if Kerry could destroy our group faster than we 
could build it. To this point, Kathy and I had not shared any "negative" with Rick and 
Paula, as this was a violation of the Cardinal rules. We had put on a strong game face and 
had not made them aware of our ongoing struggles with Kerry and Zack. Paula called one 
day and told us that Rick was so frustrated that he had been in their basement, beating the 
wall with a baseball bat. We needed to talk, or they were on the way out of The Business. 

They came over and shared their concerns. The feelings and observations they 
had were the same as ours. We could no longer cover up, or we were going to lose them 
and their entire group. They were very good friends. We came clean, and it was an 
incredible relief to be able to talk to someone about our struggles. They were ready to 
quit, and everything hinged on the answer I gave to one question: They asked me if the 
apparent demeaning, arrogant way Kerry behaved was just him or was this what Zack did 
as well? I shared the frustrations we had but assured them that Zack was a good, 



* M. J. Michael, Ladies Session Saturday Morning - Part 1 Stock No. GDL 96-1 Copyright Internet 
Services Corporation 
Not their real names. 



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honorable man. I explained that Zack was fair and just, but for some reason, Zack did not 
seem to understand the situation with Kerry's alienating behavior. He may have heard so 
many bad things from Kerry and Chris about Kathy and me that he never got an objective 
view. I had could not reason nor comprehend the fact that Zack knew, understood and 
approved what was going on. 

We decided the best course of action would be for them to bring all this up when 
they counseled with Zack and Molly next. Perhaps if he heard the same things from an 
objective second party, Zack would understand the challenges that were tearing our group 
up. They were scared! We were all both respectful and yet fearful of Zack. We agreed 
never to acknowledge that we had spoken of this, or all four of us would be in trouble for 
passing negative and de-edifying. The situation was becoming increasingly critical, as 
Kerry was unpredictable and more and more militant in his demands on the leaders in the 
organization. I admired Rick's courage and honestly was thankful that we were about to 
have this resolved, so that we would be free to build our businesses and help those we 
had promised to assist. 

Rick called Zack and told him he would like to get on his schedule to counsel 
soon, as he had some concerns. Zack always promoted himself as the problem solver and 
asked Rick to prepare a specific list of concerns. We were all enthusiastic about the 
outcome of this meeting, but upon their return, Rick and Paula did not call us. They 
didn't even call the next day. This was very odd. We called them and Paula was still in a 
state of shock. As she described it, the meeting had started friendly but turned into an all 
out verbal assault as soon as the Kerry issue was raised. Rick was lambasted for every 
issue he brought up to discuss! 

They experienced, perhaps, an even greater verbal thrashing than we had 
ourselves. They were accused of having out-of-control egos, a lack of respect, being poor 
examples, and finding fault with others and with God's will. They were not able to utter a 
single word to each other on the hour and a half ride home. They were in a total state of 
shock and did not know who or what to believe. I think Zack may have hammered them 
about us, as we rarely spoke for the next two months' time. Zack had told them they 
needed to go out of their way to establish a good relationship with Kerry and Chris. They 
were forced to call them to go out to dinner or to counsel. We did not know exactly what 
issues they were discussing, as they were now fearful of confiding too much in us. 
Perhaps Zack had told them we were a bad influence. We all lived in a state of paranoia, 
not knowing whom to trust. 

Rick and Paula did exactly what they were instructed to do and spent time with 
Kerry and Chris. They drove with them to seminars and counseled with them. This was 
an incredible farce, since Rick and Paula had a good-sized organization, and the upline, 
from which they were receiving advice, had blown nearly everyone out of their group. 
Rick and Paula gave this an earnest effort, as they did not want to be out of favor with 
Zack, nor appear to be disloyal. Their efforts were to no avail, as after nearly a year of 
trying, nothing changed. They eventually came back to us, and we re-established our 
relationship, but we still did not know how we were going to resolve the situation. 

Kathy and I now had massive debts. We had cars that looked great on the surface 
but were barely running. We owed back property and income taxes, and all our credit 
cards were maxed out. The money we borrowed from our last resources went to pay for 
the last couple of Go Diamonds Seminars to get the answers we needed, in order for us to 



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go Diamond. We had to do this, because we were desperate. There was no other way. We 
went in order to get more business logistics to move our business forward. A lot of what 
we heard, we did not understand at the time. Remember the Cardinal Rule against passing 
negative? Apparently, there had been a very secretive war going on for quite a while 
between Amway and Dexter and the other high-level distributors involved in the tool 
business. 

High-level Diamond distributors informed us that things were better now between 
the Company (Amway) and the field (us) than they ever had been. We did not even know 
they had been bad. Senior Amway management people and even some of the DeVos 
family members came in to speak at some of these functions. They praised Dexter for his 
leadership and showered him with seemingly enormous bonuses, as tokens of their 
appreciation. Dexter, in turn, praised them with heartfelt emotions. Once the Amway 
people were not present, we were told the rest of the story and advised not to repeat it to 
anyone in our group, because it was negative. 

Zack had always told us the information we learned on how to build our 
businesses did not come from Amway, as they just supply us. He even cautioned new 
Direct distributors about going on their Direct Seminar trip to Amway not to talk to cross 
line distributors and not to get any ideas from Amway. They were just in the 
manufacturing end. He would often say that Rich and Jay (references to Billionaire 
Founders Rich DeVos and Jay VanAndel) haven't sponsored anyone in over 20 years. 
Only seasoned leaders, with field experience with a system, know how to put it all 
together by building and training a distributor force. 

Mega-wealthy, Triple Diamond Rick Setzer told us that, many years ago, there 
was a huge lawsuit between Amway and him regarding the tool business (this being the 
sales of tapes, books, videos, and seminar tools). According to him, they actually cut his 
bonus income off, apparently to starve him into submission, and he had to sell many of 
his assets to keep going. According to Rick, he won the case, and the business of 
developing tools was made legal. Dexter and his Diamonds told of repeated assaults by 
Amway and other horror stories. 

Triple Diamonds Jerry and Sherry Meadows spoke of qualifying for a high-level 
luxury trip for what they had done in their business. They were then uninvited by a 
powerful member of the Amway management staff. They were extremely hurt. Others 
talked of being investigated by Amway for trumped up infractions of the rules of conduct 
and nearly having their business destroyed. Some Diamonds actually said that they had 
been told that Dexter was a crook and was going to jail. Others were placed under great 
pressure and were told they would be let off the hook if they would just admit who 
trained them (Dexter). From the little information we received, it appeared that this was 
about the tool business. Amway did not know how vital the tool business was to holding 
the distributor force together. In any event, that was all in the past, and we now had a 
secure future for our children, as these heroes of the faith had paid a great price for us. 

It sounded as if Amway wanted to shut down some of their biggest distributors. 
Why would they do this? Were they afraid these people were becoming too powerful? It 
did not make sense to me, but we were glad it was history now. We had enough 
challenges. The ADA board was something that had been promoted as one of the biggest 
benefits to us as distributors. The Amway Distributors Association (ADA) board was a 
board comprised of family members that owned or managed Amway and elected 



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Distributor leaders. From the Diamonds we knew, it looked as if Dexter and Diamonds in 
his organization controlled most of the distributor side of the board. In any event, this 
board voted on policy change, and it gave us a voice in any issues that could affect our 
future. 

Another wealthy Crown Distributor, Jody Victor, was working closely with 
Amway senior management and our ownership on a legal document that would help us 
all with risk reduction. This was the mysterious BSMAA that Zack had initially warned 
us not to sign. "Risk reduction" was a term that was foreign to us, but he and senior 
Amway staffers began using it with frequency. He spoke of it as a document that would 
secure our businesses as never before. He mentioned a distributor class-action suit that 
had originated years ago out of Philadelphia by a couple named Hanrahan. To the 
crowd's glee, he announced that when finalized, this new document would preclude there 
ever being a case like this again. 

Dexter came out and spoke of many of the trials of the hard days. He launched 
into a talk that was like many we had heard before. Again, we had come out of 
desperation to hear new Diamonds talk and learn some logistics to move our business 
forward. Instead, Dexter delivered one of his usual stream-of-consciousness talks. He 
would tend to cover topics God had told him to say (God speaks directly to him), such as 
Hillary Clinton's sexual preferences, Communism, Socialism, loyalty, castrating rapists, 
Gospel Films, Jesus, wealth, knowledge, life lessons, relationships and how many 
girlfriends he had in Rome, New York. Despite the fact that these meetings started with 
prayer, he felt comfortable using crude references to "crap" and "shit" in some of his 
more enlightened teachings. 

A frequent topic of the speakers, particularly Dexter, during one Go Diamond 
weekend was a disease he had named HUB. It was an acronym that stands for Head-Up- 
Butt disease. Who had it? It seemed that his answer was anyone that would not agree 
with him, Amway, or the system. If you were a Democrat or not going Diamond, you had 
it. If you had a job, you had a serious HUB. It seemed to go on and on. We were so tired 
in those meetings. It was a bizarre scene to have a few hundred Emeralds and Diamonds 
who were trying to sit in rapt attention, when most all of them were fighting to stay 
conscious. People's heads would be nodding as they dozed off to sleep out of total 
exhaustion. Some fell asleep sitting up and actually started drooling on themselves. 

At one of these Emerald and Diamond meetings, Amway Diamond Bob Howard 
was lying prone across four chairs next to me with his arms folded across his chest. He 
looked like a corpse and was completely out. Birdie Yager talked about how tired she 
was at one of the meetings. Dexter was prodding her to speak, and she did not want to 
comply. They were both on stage, and he told her to go off stage and get her notes to 
speak. She said that she hadn't slept in something like 20 hours. 

The most bizarre of Dexter's teachings, in my opinion, were his sex talks. 
Remember, as you read this, that neither the general public nor the average distributor 
were ever made aware of what went on at these leadership meetings. By the time people 
got to these meetings, they had been well indoctrinated. Also, remember that these 
meetings were normally started with a prayer. At one of our first few high-level 
leadership level meetings, very late at night, Dexter decided to share a business secret 
that a woman Diamond had passed on, regarding the success she and her husband 
enjoyed. The advice he passed on to the ladies present concerned how to relate to their 



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husbands. The advice was to "screw their brains out." People were actually taking notes! 

On another occasion, we were with Dexter in a large, Italian restaurant that had 
many other people, besides the near thirty in our entourage. We ordered and all of us that 
were present huddled close to Dexter to hear whatever wisdom he was going to share. 
Now, picture how odd this must have looked! We were sitting in a restaurant, and we 
were huddled around Dexter, and the other patrons were trying to figure out who he was 
and hear what he was saying. He must have looked like a celebrity! He was wearing 
enough diamond and gold jewelry to look like a short, white Mr. T. There was a hush in 
the room. For this sex analogy, he chose an attractive, young, Emerald woman sitting 
near him. He asked her what her name was, and if the guy with her was her husband. She 
responded to both questions. He looked her right in the eye and asked her if she really 
enjoyed sex. Then he explained how sex is an important thing and went on and on about 
some point that I can't even recall. 

At another Emerald meeting, Dexter chose another couple of friends of ours for 
the example du jour. Once again, a young, attractive woman was selected. He asked the 
couple their names and then used them as examples. Dexter had been talking about 
ineffective goal setting. His analogy went like this. Let's say Tim and Brianna go to their 
room tonight and have sex with the goal of impregnating Brianna, but they use a condom. 
The details beyond this are too bizarre for clarity, but a great deal of time was spent on 
the sperm trying to get through the condom. Somehow, this illustrated poor planning or 
taking an action that was in conflict with your objective(s). 

At the last Go Diamond Seminar we attended, it seemed that nearly the entire 
function revolved around sex. At one point, the women were brought to a separate room 
and given specific direction, but there were many speakers that addressed the entire group 
on this topic. Dexter had had a stroke and felt it was important to advise us that it had 
occurred on a night when Birdie had refused him sex. (I cannot remember what the point 
was that time.) On one occasion, he compared the Amway business to sex and said, 
"Even when it's bad, it's good." 

At one of those meetings, he seemed to want to humiliate a Diamond woman 
named Effie Reid on stage. Jack and Effie are two Amway Diamonds who had been with 
Dexter for a long time. Dexter spoke of taking a trip to Amway headquarters in Michigan 
in a large recreational vehicle. According to Dexter, Jack told Dexter that he and his wife 
were going to take a nap but instead would go in the back and have sex. He would then 
return and tell Dexter that he was "one up" on him. Jack saw Dexter later in the hotel and 
told him that he was now "two up" on him. Effie was incredibly embarrassed when 
Dexter attempted to get her to tell the entire audience what Jack had given her for a 
present one Valentine's Day. She would not say what the gift was, so Dexter told the 
crowd that Jack had come out to her, wearing nothing but a red bow tied around his 
'present' for her. 

Another extremely bizarre teaching lesson involved young Executive Diamond 
Mark Day. Dexter actually brought him up on stage to discuss the details. (Now 
remember, this is firsthand information. It is way out on the fringe of bizarre.) As Mark 
and Dexter told the story, Mark had gotten on an elevator with Dexter, and Dexter had 
noticed Mark's sprained or broken finger. Dexter asked him if it hurt, and Mark 
responded that it was giving him a lot of pain. Dexter executed a quick, forceful snap 
kick to Mark's crotch, dropping him to the floor. Dexter asked him again how bad his 



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finger hurt, and then made his point that "everything is a matter of perspective." 

As strange as this sounds to you, it was even more odd to me, in that Kathy and I 
were there with a large group of ambitious, intelligent, articulate people. Remember that 
this was a group of sales professionals, through which as much as 90% of Amway's 
global, billion-dollar volume allegedly flowed. None of us walked out or even questioned 
these strange sessions. I would not understand for years why we stayed. The teachings 
were not all bizarre. The really strange ones were mostly given very late at night when 
we were all just praying for the mercy of sleep. I remember being up so long that I 
actually hallucinated and made Dexter float around the stage in a fuzzy blur. 

The bizarre was often offset by something that seemed truly good, honorable, and 
useful. We had Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's, come and speak to a fairly small 
group of us. He and Dexter talked about how much they had in common. Dave is a 
wonderful, kind man and is exactly as he appears on his television commercials. He 
spoke of hard work, ethics, and values. These were the same things we seemed to have 
represented. 

On another occasion, Rev. Jerry Falwell came in and spoke. His support and 
praise of both Dexter and Amway reinforced that we were part of something good. For 
instance, the Internet guys had really caused some problems for us by writing hateful, 
unsubstantiated criticism of Amway and posting it on the World Wide Web. (I was online 
but did not visit these sites, because I wanted to avoid negative.) Mr. Falwell did us a big 
favor by writing a letter that went to the Internet on Dexter Yager's Internet Services site. 

Dexter addressed the same issue at an Emerald and Diamond meeting with the 
following remarks: 

You know, you are going to have to learn to be quick thinkers. 
You are going to have to tell people, you are going to have things like the 
Internet coming out all the time with all this crap. You are going to like 
have one guy is loading all this crap on the Internet. He's got such a hate 
for Amway and somebody that he wants to destroy it. God does not deal 
with hate in his heart. So that's not God's man. If you are a Christian, you 
better understand that. And I'll tell you something, when push comes to 
shove and I get with that guy and that situation, I can look him right in 
the eye and until you can look people in the eye and say, "We are right. 
We love you. You have the right to be stupid, it's your life." 1 

We were taught that the appropriate response was to advise anyone who found 
information on the Internet that it was not trustworthy, because anyone can post 
something there. Anyone taking the time from his life to tear down something good 
obviously was a failure with an ax to grind. We were told that anti-Amway web site 
owner Sidney Schwartz was a paid agent of our competitor Proctor and Gamble. That 
certainly explained it. We advised people to take advice only from others who lived the 
way they wanted to live. If you wanted to succeed in Amway, the shortcut was to take 
advice from people who had enjoyed huge success. We used many analogies to reinforce 
this. If someone got the Internet information or spoke to a former distributor who had 
quit, we would ask them several questions to turn their thinking around. 



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We trained our people to ask someone with hostile information if they would like 
their twelfth-grade son or daughter to get advice on college from someone who just quit. 
Better yet, would you want your newly engaged daughter to get advice from a bitter, 
angry person who just got divorced? We just needed to teach people how to think things 
through more logically. They could not afford to make a decision that could impact their 
entire life, based upon innuendo and false rumors. If we really cared about them, we 
would not take no for an answer. Perhaps this was what had given Amway distributors an 
overzealous image to people on the outside. 

I was trained to turn a deaf ear to the word 'no' when dealing with prospects or 
when selling distributors on 100% self-use of the products and system. I literally would 
not hear the word no. I was out with a newly sponsored distributor and showed the plan 
to a physician and his wife. On the follow-up visit, she spent about 20 minutes telling me 
that they were interested, but there was no way they could start now. We could get them 
going in a few weeks, but right now, their apple cart was turned upside down. After 
hearing about five reasons why there was no possible way they could get started, and it 
was completely out of the question, I smiled politely and acknowledged how busy they 
were. Then I mentioned how leveraging their time against mine would actually create a 
lot more income and free time for them. 

As if I had heard nothing for the last twenty minutes, I told her that I had two 
mornings that week I could stop by and help her get started and asked which was more 
convenient. She chose the latter, which was only three days away. As we walked out of 
the house, the distributor I was working with looked at me completely dumbfounded, and 
said he was amazed that I did not hear anything that I did not want to. Jokingly, I said, 
"What?" I explained to him that I was not that bold early on but became that way, once I 
realized that we could have a positive impact on people's lives. 

Life in this business was what you made of it. There was a 100% success rate in 
the system. The Diamonds' opulent lifestyles proved it. I was confident, because I kept 
my mind full of positive, inspirational thoughts that gave me energy. What we thought 
about regularly directed our actions and our actions determined our future. It was vital to 
keep our mind in a protected environment. Due to this, we were told to keep our people 
off the Internet, as it was basically a waste of time, where they could not discern the 
difference between vital information and slander. Anyone who had time to surf the net 
was obviously not building his business. One Diamond came in and told a scary story 
about one of his Directs who had his wife leave him for someone she met while surfing 
on the net. We needed to keep away from the Internet and stay focused. Satan wanted us 
to be distracted and confused. Privately, I thought he wasn't the only one. 



That Carrot on a Stick 

"Successful people will always do what losers refuse to do." 

- Amway Crown Ambassador Birdie Yager' 
Some time after we got back from a Go Diamond meeting, Zack called a Directs' 



Birdie Yeager, Ladies Session Saturday Morning Part II, Stock GDL 96-2 



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meeting. At this meeting, he advised that his attorney had reviewed the Business Support 
Materials Arbitration Agreement and that we all had to sign it to protect ourselves. He 
advised that it was put in place to protect us if some stupid distributor wanted to file suit 
against us for selling him tools. Kathy and I ignored the agreement, even though Kerry 
asked us about it a couple times. I did not want to sign it! It appeared we were giving up 
or limiting our legal rights. We would never use this for any reason, but I did not like 
being forced into giving up rights in a business that proclaimed freedom for its members. 
It seemed to be a contradiction to me. 

We thought the issue would just fade away, but it did not. One day Kerry called 
us and gave us an ultimatum. He had spoken with Zack, and Zack had told him that 
anyone who buys any tools must sign this form. There were no other options. Kerry 
advised that Zack had given him specific instructions for us. We were to be told that we 
would not be allowed to pick up our Amway products, books, tape-of-the-week, or other 
support materials for our organization that week unless we came over with a signed 
BSMAA form. This represented a gun to my head. Tools were the life-blood of our 
business. Not to get tape-of-the-week to your organization would mean near instant 
destruction. Our entire organization had been taught that there was a zero percent success 
rate outside of the system (meaning not listening to tapes); yet we were going to be cut 
off from this support system totally if we did not comply. Additionally, we would 
completely fall from grace from Zack's viewpoint, and that, too, would spell destruction 
for our business. No one, I mean no one, challenged him or his authority. I was fearful of 
him. I did not know what Zack was capable of. We had no choice but to relent or lose 
everything. We never thought we would sue anyone, particularly our upline partners. It 
was just the mere fact that a right was being forcibly stripped from us. 

That happened at a time when more and more hostile information was being 
posted on the Internet. We began to get many questions on the tool business. Prospects 
would tell us they had researched it and found the Diamonds made their money off the 
tapes and seminars. How ridiculous! We checked upline to see how to handle these issues 
and were told that the tapes and seminars were done at cost. At times, there was actually 
a loss on some functions, and the Diamond would absorb it. If there was a surplus, it was 
held to absorb any future losses. We were lucky that our upline Diamonds were willing to 
invest so much for our success without a guarantee of a return. Crown Ambassador 
Birdie Yager assured distributor leaders in a large public meeting that her and Dexter 
make no money off the tools and never have. I had seen the copies of big Amway checks 
that both Dexter and Zack showed. We could even order copies of a set of Zack's 
Amway bonus checks to use as a promotional tool. The small tool discount Kathy and I 
were given did not even cover our expenses, so we had no reason to think that the 
information we received about the tool business was not true. 

I continued to build our group toward Diamond, but something was terribly 
wrong. I had so many bottled-up questions from our financial reality that it felt like a 
cancer was eating my life away. I was absolutely miserable and missed Kathy so much 
when I was gone. She was unhappy as well, but we could never talk about our feelings. I 
had let her down miserably. I felt like an utter failure in every sense. I had, however, no 
time for a pity party and had to 'gut it up' and get Diamond done. Kathy was fading from 
the stress. We both felt like phonies. I did not know how long we could hack it, living 
like this. We were near the end of our rope. I read the books and listened to all the tapes. I 



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prayed and cried in frustration. We had to succeed, not only for us but also for the large 
number of our closest friends that were counting on us to lead the way. 

We received word that the Philippines were going to open up. The word went out 
to our group to discover who had contacts over there. We had a growing group of 
medical professionals in the Philadelphia and Western New Jersey area that were from 
the Philippines. Four leaders in our group, counting myself, had significant contacts. We 
each decided after counseling with Zack to go, to kick off The Business. We would all 
share in 25% of the cost of each trip. 

Kerry and Chris called and reported that their direct sponsor above them, Larry, 
decided he wanted to get in on this action and gave us money to buy a Philippine Amway 
kits for him. They insisted that we put them above us in the line of sponsorship there. 
They were to be sponsored by Zack, and all of them would be in the line of sponsorship 
above us, even though they never planned to go to the Philippines and build The 
Business. This was a violation of Amway's rule of conduct for international business. 
Larry also refused to chip in and share the cost for any of the four initial trips. They 
insisted we take care of their businesses as a courtesy. We did it just to keep the peace. 

I left on my trip and flew from Philadelphia to Chicago to Japan and then over to 
the Philippines. It was a very long trip. It was a little scary, because I did not know a 
single person in this country by sight. I got off the plane, found my luggage, and 
proceeded to a crowded area near the street. I was surprised to see military personnel 
there on duty with machine guns. It was late at night and very hot. At first, I could not 
locate the driver who was to meet me with a sign with my name on it. We finally met, 
and he drove me to a cheap motel outside of Manila. I was very fearful for my life, as 
everything in this area had steel bars on the windows and doors. I hoped and prayed that 
nothing would happen to me. Since our credit was shot, I only had a Visa debit card and 
actually only had $54 in that account. I was scheduled to do meetings on several southern 
islands, in the business district of Makati, and in a town two hours to the north. I had just 
enough money to cover the flights and boat rides to each. 

My trip to one island was eventful. I was invited to stay with a wonderful family. 
They did not have running water, and I bathed out of a large bucket in the morning. I did 
meetings throughout that island in homes and in a school building with the aide of an 
interpreter. With his help, I also learned parts of the two Philippine dialects, in order to 
greet people in their own language. This small show of respect opened many doors. 

A feast was prepared for me, consisting of many types of seafood, including raw 
clams and a delicacy named balut. I loved the seafood and could do the raw clams, but 
the balut was a challenge. I finally managed to get it down, because showing others 
honor and respect is of universal importance. Balut may have been a test of my sincerity. 
It was a duck egg that was taken from the nest a few days before it hatched and then 
boiled. A small hole is broken in the top and salt is placed around the opening. When you 
look in, you saw a jelly-like little duck looking up at you, while the bottom two-thirds of 
the egg looked like pure yolk. I took a deep breath and realized just how badly I wanted 
to be a Diamond as I swallowed my balut, nearly whole, to the cheers of the group 
present. I was accepted as a friend from that point on. 

I made my way, by boat and plane back to Manila and was met by a guide that I 
hired to take me to a small town called Tarlac, about two hours to the north. There we 
met a very influential businessman who had invited about 45 people to his home for a 



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meeting. His home was too small for this crowd, so we went to his backyard. The heat 
was blistering for me but average for the local folks. I stood in the shade of a garage and 
spoke through an interpreter to the group — mostly women. It was clear that they were not 
getting the message or did not yet relate at all to me. I was hot and getting frustrated at 
my inability to connect with them. At last, I had a brainstorm and told them if they built 
this business, they would have enough money to buy more shoes than Imelda Marcos. 
Once the translator repeated what I had said, they laughed hysterically, and we finally 
connected. I actually sponsored quite a few of these women. All this public speaking had 
sharpened my ability to think on my feet. Once again, I felt good about what I was doing, 
but my celebration was bittersweet, as I spent Easter alone in my hotel a world apart from 
Kathy and our children. 

The next day I returned to Manila, carrying a sign with my name on it, to meet 
people at a posh downtown hotel lobby. This was where the Yager organization was 
putting on large open meetings. Outside of the open meeting room was a set of very 
large tables covered with books and tapes to teach these people how to become 
successful. I went into another office-type room where each of Dexter's major Diamonds 
had a table to sign up new distributors. I met and sponsored my contact there. At the time, 
I did not know it, but in the same room was a woman named Ruth Carter. She would later 
play a very large role in the process of opening my eyes to some huge problems in The 
Business to which I had dedicated my life. She was there from her home in Florida as an 
employee of a Yager Diamond, helping to run his organization, as it expanded into this 
area. 

In somewhat the same time frame, our organization was expanding into Europe. 
This came about from two distributors in our group who had contacts overseas. One was 
a Direct, an eye surgeon. The other was a successful, travel agency owner. They had 
contacts in multiple countries, all of which sounded great. Here we were with a business 
that had grown from regional to national to global. And yet, Kathy's and my net income 
as Emeralds hovered near or below $30,000. After taxes, we were near the poverty level 
for a family of five. 

We did not speak negative to each other about The Business, but we did find 
relief in venting to one another about the near insane acts of members of our upline. The 
rest of the disappointments, we both just internalized. I kept repeating to Kathy what I 
believed to be true. "We're almost there, honey. Please trust me, please believe in me." 
She did, and her faith kept me going. Once when I was away, she helped each of the kids 
put together a little picture book of their drawings. They had misspelled titles, in crayon 
and marker like 'Why we are going Dimond,' and they had pictures drawn of a nice 
home with a pool and other things we promised them as Diamond kids. They had been 
reading the system book Just Wait Til We're Diamond and knew what to expect. Those 
pictures melted my heart and drove me to a more frenzied pace. 

If I could just get past the roadblocks I was facing. I had secretly read Anthony 
Robbins books and found within them some powerful tools to focus and motivate myself 
on a daily basis. These books were taboo, and I could never tell anyone in the group 
about them, because they were not on the approved list of books that had to be ordered 
upline. Zack explained to me once that not all books that are positive are 'good' books. 
He and Dexter had the experience to sort out which would be helpful and which would 
not. If we had distributors just going to the bookstores and picking up books at random, 



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we would have confusion, which would automatically stop growth. . . 

We received a mailing from the Anthony Robbins organization for an executive 
sales training seminar he was holding a few hours away in Philadelphia. I felt I had to go, 
but I had to do it secretly, because this information was outside of the system. I drove 
down myself with the hope and prayer that this would give me the break I needed to get 
out of this living hell of growing debt and so little family life. Going Diamond was the 
only way out, and it had to happen now. I checked into the seminar and was terrified, 
because I had to sign a release form. The event was being filmed to promote Anthony's 
products on one of the home shopping channels. I might be recognized by thousands and 
would be spotted immediately if the camera panned by me. I decided to take the chance 
and went in. 

One of the habits trained into me from The Business was that of getting to 
meetings first and leaving last. I was there very early and waited by the door to get in and 
get a good seat. I met an energetic, ambitious woman named Elena that I was 
immediately drawn to. Elena had a radiant personality. She told me that she and her 
husband, Dick, lived in New Jersey and owned insurance agencies and a Scuba store that 
she managed. Apparently, Dick, Elena, and their teen-aged children were avid scuba 
divers, and Dick was also a private pilot. It was invigorating to meet someone so full of 
life and adventure. 

We took seats with some other people we had met and sat in awe as Anthony 
Robbins captivated the audience. I was now a public speaker and had attended seminars 
and listened to literally hundreds of motivational and business speakers. He was in a class 
by himself. He was, by far, the most gifted teacher and communicator I had ever heard. 
His approach was far deeper than a motivational quick fix that would wear off. His 
approach was to share strategies that would create lasting change. He did not come off as 
some sort of guru but simply as a person who had made dramatic changes in his own life 
and in the lives of many others. The crowd was mesmerized as he entertained, motivated, 
taught, and challenged us. 

It was a life-changing event. I kept in touch with Elena and later invited her to a 
'business seminar' I was presenting not too far from where they lived. I met Dick and he 
was as pleasant and full of life as Elena. They were very successful people, but you 
would never know from their humble demeanor. The open meeting they attended in a 
large hotel went well, and I really did a good job, even if I say so myself. Since the 
Anthony Robbins seminar, I was able to project with more energy and better entertain a 
crowd, as I went over principles of success in the plan. When it was over, I booked time 
to meet with Dick and Elena at their scuba store in New Jersey. It was well over a three- 
hour trip, but one that I would make frequently down and back in a night for months to 
come. 

Their children, Malena and Jarrett, were college age and were as charismatic and 
outgoing as their mom and dad. They had one of the greatest family relationships I have 
ever witnessed. They all entered The Business, and I ended up showing the plan for them 
as far away as Arizona. We started to do more and more meetings for them. In one 
meeting, I showed the plan to a computer consultant. He was a sharp guy and was very 
much interested in The Business. I was supposed to go back in two days to help him get 
started. Dick called me the next day and sounded concerned. The computer consultant 
had gone online and claimed that Amway had been involved in fraud in Canada. He also 



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brought up the issue of the Diamonds making most of their income from seminars and the 
sale of books and tapes, not Amway. He even mentioned the cult issue but said that it 
sounded silly to him also. 

I went online and found Sidney Schwartz' web site as well as Ashley Wilkes' web 
site. They made my blood boil with their stupid claims of cultism and other non-issues. I 
had been trained thoroughly and was an expert at explaining away and minimizing these 
issues. We lost the computer consultant, but Dick and Elena stayed in, because they 
trusted me implicitly. However, since Dick was a level-headed businessman, his sincere 
concern gave me reason to think twice. 

I started to go to the web sites and read negative, hostile information about The 
Business. It made me start to doubt and have negative thoughts. I began to feel some 
panic but managed to block it all out. I was unable to discern what was at the core of my 
feelings. I had developed enough control that I automatically blocked all negative 
thoughts. However, the negative evidence was so overwhelming that at times it felt as 
though an unspecified darkness was overcoming me that I could not identify or control. 

I had sponsored a single man named Chris and two couples. We were working 
towards Diamond, and our business was becoming more profitable. One of the couples, 
named Dave and Eileen, were doing well, and he sponsored five people almost 
immediately. We quickly became like brothers and had a great time together. They began 
growing quickly. We had sponsored another really nice couple named Tim and Linda. 
They were a Christian couple with twin girls. He was a graphic designer and was very 
gifted at what he did. At times, he would do a newsletter for us to make it look 
professional. We received a hand-drawn newsletter from Kerry and Chris that contained 
multiple misspelled words and a stick figure drawing to promote some meeting for our 
group. I would not pass this down to our organization, which now had many 
professionals in it. I did not want to start a power struggle and did not say anything to 
Kerry and Chris. I just faxed it to Tim, he made a professional piece with the exact same 
information on it, and we sent it to the group. 

One of our Directs, who had been enlisted to spy on us, had received a copy of the 
original hand-drawn version directly from Kerry. He immediately reported the change. 
We were told never to do this again. Next, Kerry and Chris got our Directs' fax numbers 
and began sending newsletters directly to them to make certain we would not take it upon 
ourselves to make them look professional. This was showing signs of insanity. We were 
working like animals in what we thought was our own business. How could it be that 
near the pinnacle of so-called success, we did not have the authority to send a 
grammatically correct newsletter to the organization that we drove and flew hundreds of 
thousands of miles to build? I thought we owned our own business. 

I could not comprehend what was happening. We went to an Emerald meeting 
and found out that I had been spotted when I attended the Anthony Robbins Seminar. 
Zack started his talk by saying, "You know you are off track if you are looking for 
answers outside of the system. If you are, your mind is not right, and you will find it 
nearly impossible to succeed. Maybe you know more than Dexter. Let's say, for example, 
you go to an Anthony Robbins seminar... You are teaching your group to be confused, 
because all the Diamonds feel that the Yager system is the sole key to their success. You 
might be a broke guy with ideas. Diamonds have experience and wealth to back it up. 



I have changed their names for this account in order to protect them. 



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Don't be stupid and confuse your group." 

His warning came too late. I was slowly coming out of the system-induced coma 
that I had been in for years. Zack was revealing his true colors more and more. I was 
beginning to think he was not the warm, loving Christian mentor I had once believed him 
to be. He was looking more and more like an angry little tyrant. I still was extremely 
conflicted, and part of me actually felt bad for going to the Anthony Robbins seminar and 
setting a wrong example. 

Something in my spirit had died. I struggled to go through the motions of The 
Business. A complete blanket of darkness had overtaken me. I could not see it, but I 
could feel it, and it was like a lead coat of arms that I could not take off. I was absolutely 
physically and emotionally drained. I began to suffer chronic nightmares and crying jags. 
I still went through the motions of The Business but in a near catatonic state. Once I got 
in my car to go to Dick and Elena's, and Kathy came to the car to see me off. Tears were 
silently streaming down my face, and I did not even know why. She asked me what was 
wrong, and I did not even know. I just drove off. She had to be thinking that I was losing 
my mind. I knew I was having trouble holding it together. 

Negative thoughts were invading my mind, even though I knew how deadly this 
could be to our future. This was insane. We were closer to Diamond now than we ever 
had been. We were moving Amway starter kits in six legs now. Our income was slowly 
coming up. We were buried in a deep sea of debt, but we were now making payments to 
the IRS to keep them from filing a lien on our home. Now we had three mortgages. The 
IRS eventually filed a lien, and we had four liens against our home now. The seminars 
depressed me, as I still perceived that something was very wrong, but I continued to 
unconsciously block it out. It almost seemed as if there were two of me arguing 
constantly in my thoughts. It was a draining process. I spaced out on Kathy and the kids 
every day. I would hear them question me, "Daddy, why do we have to ask you 
something four times before you hear us?" Kathy got used to saying "Earth to John, come 
in John," to snap me out of the psychological daze. Something was very wrong with me. 

I continued in an emotional stupor to build The Business but felt almost sick most 
of the time. I lost my appetite and about ten pounds in short order. There was an 
enormous conflict going on within me that I did not understand. Those leaders in our 
organization who knew me very well could sense something was wrong. They would, 
however, not mention it because to question upline was inappropriate. I used to be the 
kind of strong person who could not tolerate fear in myself, but now I was riddled with 
fears. 

When I was in my early twenties, I had a low self-esteem and was generally 
fearful. So I pushed myself into situations where I had to confront and overcome my 
fears. This is one reason that I had gone into the Marine Corps Officer Training program. 
It was very, very tough, but I made it. For the same reason, I took up skydiving. I hated 
the fact that it terrified me. It took me making 54 jumps until it did not scare the heck out 
of me. I continued skydiving from as high as 10,000 feet until I had just under 100 jumps 
in. It was great fun once you passed the fear barrier. Once the irrational level of fear was 
gone, there was no better feeling than jumping out and in ten seconds hitting terminal 
velocity of 120 mph. 

I learned to hang glide in California and rock climbed and rappelled down cliff 
faces in Pennsylvania. I had a motorcycle and drove it faster than anyone with any 



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common sense. I tell you all this not to blow my own trumpet but to give you a reference 
point. I was used to overcoming any fear, but now I was scared to death, completely 
terrified by the darkness that engulfed me. The terror was inside of me. It was part of me, 
like a cancer. I went to sleep in fear and woke up in a panicked state. There was literally 
no rest or escape from whatever was beginning to happen. 

Prior to this, I had become confident, decisive and could think quickly on my feet 
on stage before audiences of thousands. I was now having trouble, struggling with the 
most minor decisions. Deciding what to wear or eat now took a long time. I was very 
confused and was experiencing difficulty in even maintaining a consistent flow of logical 
thinking. What was most disturbing was the fact that I was fully cognizant of how 
unglued I was becoming psychologically — but I was powerless to stop this downward 
spiral. 

I was still building The Business and could mask my problems from those that did 
not know me well. One day Tim, the graphic designer, called and was enraged. I had 
been working with him to develop his organization. We were like brothers, so I was taken 
off guard by his tirade. From what I could gather, he was "disgusted with me and the fact 
that I called myself a Christian brother." He told me that he was fully aware of the whole 
Brig Hart situation. I did not know what he was talking about, but he did not believe me. 
He yelled at me, saying that he was fully aware of the whole tool income situation and 
was quitting. I told him about the small tool break that we received as Emeralds, and he 
acknowledged that it did not even cover the cost of multiple trips that I had made to 
Maine to show the plan for him. In any event, he said that the whole "Brig Hart' issue 
blew him out (Amway slang for someone leaving the organization), and if I was sincerely 
not aware of it, I needed to go online. Then he just hung up on me. 

I couldn't believe it. How pathetic! He was going to flush his whole future based 
upon some trash on the Internet, posted by someone he would never know. This forced 
me to go and turn my computer on and do a search under Brig's name. I needed to get 
some information to do damage control to shut him up, so he wouldn't go and blow other 
good people out of The Business. I knew of Brig Hart only in that he was a very 
charismatic, former hippie surfer from Jacksonville, Florida, who had turned multi- 
millionaire Amway Double Diamond. I did research and found information regarding a 
lawsuit over tool money between Brig and Lita Hart, Dexter Yager, Internet Services 
Corp and a host of other Amway Diamonds. The suit was case number 97-349-CIV-J- 
20B and was filed in the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District Court on April 8, 
1997. 

It was quite a lengthy document and provided a lot of information that I was not 
yet able to comprehend. The suit alleged that other Amway Diamonds had conspired and 
circumvented Brig and Lita Hart and had cut them out of the tool and seminar income 
generated by their organization. Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that Dexter Yager and 
other defendants had violated racketeering (RICO) laws and stated: 

Plaintiffs have been injured and continue to be injured in their 
business and property — both in their Amway business and in their 
Amway-related business support materials distribution business — by 
reason of the Distributor Defendants' foregoing pattern of racketeering 
activity in violation of 18 U.S.C.  1962(c) in an amount exceeding 



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$50,000,000.00. Plaintiffs are entitled to recover this sum, additional 
damages proven at trial of this matter, treble the amount of these 
damages, plus costs, interest and reasonable attorneys' fees from the 
Distributor Defendants for their RICO violations. 2 

This was incredibly confusing. Kathy and I had been told all along that the tool 
business was run essentially at cost and was simply a training system used to support 
growth in the Amway business. Can you imagine, that a single Diamond-level distributor, 
who only had part of his tool income taken from him, alleged the actual amount of 
damages, excluding punitive damages sought, exceeded $50,000,000. Now this was 
totally confusing to me. The lawsuit also revealed the alleged magnitude of Dexter 
Yager's tool business that operated under the Internet Services Corporate name. The suit 
charged the following: 

Yager derives a substantial portion of his income from the sale of 
business support materials down the lines of distribution in the Amway 
Network. On information and belief, over 70% of Yager's Amway-related 
income is derived from the sale of business support materials, 
constituting $40,000,000.00 per year in gross income. 3 



The Truth will Set You Free 

"We are the number one opportunity. Folks, we've got ... I bet 
we got about 60 corporations now, international., around the 
world and domestically. And it takes a lot of business 
investment, income investment to get those things started. 
But guess what the best business investment that we have 
ever made in our history? This Amway business. Why does 
Dexter Yager spend 100% of his time in this Amway business 
with as much money as he's got? Cause it's still the best 
opportunity out there that we have seen."* 

-Jeff Yager (son of Dexter & Birdie) 

There were a large number of distributor lawsuits and other disturbing 
information on Sidney Schwartz's web site called 'Amway the Untold Story." I was 
neither shocked nor outraged. I did not read any more information and shut my computer 
off and blocked out the negative. I knew at my core that this was not true! 

I called Tim back and gave him the standard song and dance about there being no 
profit in the tool business and explained that even Diamonds could get screwed up and do 



GDL 97-23 audiotape "Friday Evening" Copyright InterNET Services 
Corporation 



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crazy things. I did not know why Brig did this. I downplayed and minimized the 
situation, as I had been trained to do, but I was unable to turn Tim around. He was still 
not comfortable with The Business. We parted on friendly terms, but I thought he was 
stupid, just throwing his future away. At least, he was going to go away quietly. That was 
all that mattered. At least, I handled it well enough to assure that he would do no harm to 
the organization. 

Kerry happened to call for some reason, and we had a long talk. We were on the 
phone for about fifteen minutes as I explained the situation to him. He was sympathetic, 
and I felt proud that I handled it as a Diamond would. Diamonds don't get upset over 
challenges or about distributors that quit. They just solve challenges, forget the "losers" 
and move on. At one Directs' meeting, a Diamond told the group of leaders to stop 
licking their wounds and worrying about people that quit. He said we needed to learn to 
"bury the dead." 4 

I spoke with Kerry about another issue. He was calling a training session at the 
local Quality Inn and our entire group had to attend. He informed me that we were to 
charge $10 a couple. I felt we were bleeding the group to death with meetings like this. 
This would create a profit of nearly $500 that he would keep. I had spoken with Zack 
about how to price these meetings, and Zack suggested that we charge just enough to 
cover the cost. We were never to use our group as an income source. Dexter had made a 
similar comment at an Emerald meeting and warned us not to have meetings just to create 
income. I shared this with Kerry in a non-threatening way. He shot back a response that 
this was 'policy' and would not be changed. I was bringing around 95% of the 
distributors that would be coming and told him that if he was going to rape the group for 
money, we would not be attending. Surprisingly, he seemed to take it well, and he said he 
would think about it. 

I remember commenting on this conversation to Kathy. Kerry and I would never 
be friends, but he had acted genuinely human to me. I had no way of knowing that this 
conversation would precipitate an oncoming holocaust for us. Everything seemed 
"normal." Despite the very serious financial and psychological challenges I was facing, 
we continued to move kits and push forward to Diamond. We were tired, discouraged, 
and hurt but not defeated. We prepared for an Emerald and Diamond meeting that we 
were to have with Zack. 

As Kerry seemed to report our every action to Zack, we had hoped that we might 
once again be in good favor after handling the Brig Hart issue so well. We had made it a 
non-issue. For the first time in a while, we were not fearful to be seeing Zack. We felt as 
if we had redeemed ourselves by handling things well and continuing to grow. Zack and 
Molly came in and were, as usual, greeted like royalty. It wasn't long until we were 
summoned to an afternoon Emerald and Diamond meeting with Molly, Zack and about 
twenty of their key leaders. We waited at the hotel banquet room until Molly and Zach 
arrived fashionably late. They spoke to most of the leaders in the room, and we settled 
down for our meal. Someone asked a blessing, and we had a nice lunch. 

Another Diamond collected a large amount of money from us all to pay for our 
meals, the room, and Zack and Molly's meal. This was customary, as it would be 
disrespectful for them to have any cost while they were there to give so much to us. We 
were reminded again and again that we could not afford their time if they billed us for it. 
On many occasions, Zack would remind us that he pays more taxes in a week than he 



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used to make for a year as a teacher. We still felt truly fortunate that at his level of 
wealth, he would continue to spend time helping us. 

Someone introduced Zack with gratitude, and we greeted him with loud hoots and 
applause. He talked about a few minor details and then launched into the most vicious 
verbal attack we had ever witnessed. He opened the topic by telling us that anyone who 
was on the Internet researching negative "crap" about Amway was really screwed up. 
You would have to be some sort of "Satan-possessed, freaking moron" to be doing 
something like that. He went on for some time about allowing Satan to control your mind 
and do great evil. Zack was normally in total control, but he was going over the edge with 
this talk. We still were oblivious to what was really going on, but we began to get the 
idea. He said for instance, "you are on the Internet researching negative crap about 
Amway, and you find information about, Brig Hart, for example." Kathy and I were 
horrified, as we realized that I was the person he was referring to as the "Satan- 
possessed, freaking moron. " 

The tirade became increasingly more venomous, and the group listened in a 
stunned silence, wondering who the moron was. The verbal attack became so vicious that 
tears welled up in Molly's eyes. We all sat paralyzed in silent fear. I was afraid he was 
going to point me out to all present. He explained the Brig Hart situation by saying that 
Brig was listening to some "stupid attorney" instead of his upline. The "dumb attorney" 
gave him "stupid advice", and he sued his upline over nothing. He must have lost his 
mind, but he has since realized the error of his ways, because he sent a formal letter of 
apology to every member of his upline and dropped the whole thing. 

This was the biggest line of hogwash I had ever heard. Brig was a very astute, 
wealthy Double Diamond with hundreds of thousands of people in his organization. 
There was no more information on the suit online, so it was most likely settled out of 
court. You do not get ripped off for $50,000,000 and then apologize to the people who 
stole it from you. I knew intuitively that Zack had probably just lied to every one of his 
leaders and put enough fear in them that they would never check the facts. Was he now 
becoming a very evil person, or had I just been blind to his dark side before? 

This verbal rampage went on for half an hour. The group present did not make a 
sound. Kerry was taking notes and sheepishly looked at me as if he did not know what 
was going on. I saw him as a pathetic coward. He would never have the courage to 
honestly talk to me about issues. No, instead he would agree to my face and then run to 
Zack with things like this to prove he was the most loyal. Zack finally concluded his 
tirade by saying that Brig did not have the guts to show up at Amway 's annual Diamond 
Club in Hawaii and that it was a good thing, "for his sake," that he did not. What did he 
think they were going to do to him, break his knees? This was starting to sound like the 
Mafia and was getting increasingly bizarre. 

The next half hour became far worse. Zack began to talk about anyone that spent 
time worrying about or questioning the income that their upline was making. We did not 
know where he was going with this, and we were still reeling in shock from the first 
beating. He then used the example of a person who was worried about what his upline 
was going to make off a training session. He used biblical references to explain 'envy.' 
Envy comes from Satan. If you envied what your upline was making, you were teaching 
your group to envy you. Did you want to teach God's principles or Satan's to your 
group? If you did not want to go to a meeting because you were worried about what your 



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upline was making, then you should not go - "you freaking moron!" Zack was now 
talking with utter disgust. 

The group of leaders present sat in a stunned, total silence at what just happened. 
We had never heard him refer to anyone as a freaking moron, let alone one of us. I looked 
nervously at my watch. This verbal whipping lasted almost exactly one hour. Zack then 
praised anyone that would bring situations of this nature to his attention. Kerry had just 
been rewarded for spying on us by being noted as the most loyal. This was a strange 
situation, because Kerry had almost no one left in his group other than us. Loyalty was 
obviously more important than any other virtues, such as salesmanship or business ability 
or even good people skills. Total, complete, and unquestioning loyalty seemed to be more 
important than serving your organization and succeeding for your family's sake. The 
group was then admonished to report any other negative speech or actions of other 
leaders to him immediately. This was for the benefit of the whole group. He did not want 
one "off track nut" hurting the whole organization and the future of thousands. Zack was 
dumb-founded as to how "some people" could be so incredibly stupid. We all needed to 
read more, pray more, and listen to more tapes to keep our minds right. 

That was more crushing than I can ever express. Zack had become my surrogate 
father. He was a man I wanted to emulate; I wanted him to be proud of me. He had been a 
real-life hero to me and to our children. I was having trouble ignoring the contradictions 
in his behavior, though. I was also having a very difficult time processing the information 
I now possessed. 

The rest of the meeting followed the usual format, as we planned out topics for 
the next seminar where we would each speak as Emeralds and Diamonds. There were 
many seminars in his organization on the same Saturday, so Kathy and I would speak at 
as many as three in one day. We were not paid, because we were fortunate to be asked to 
serve the group and have other speakers speak to our people. There were thousands of 
people at these seminars who were paying anywhere from $12-400 to attend these 
monthly functions. Then there were the two tapes of the week for $13.20, the video-of- 
the-month, and the book-of-the-month, in addition to other training sessions. Zack had 
told us that he had over 100,000 distributors in his group. (You do the math...) I was 
beginning to put it all together. Tim may have been right. Zack was making money off 
the books, tapes and seminars. No, he couldn't be doing that! He had told us that there 
were many expenses and losses involved. But it could not be true. I knew it was not 
possible. Or was it? 

I glanced over at our Emeralds, Rick and Paula, and they were in a total state of 
disbelief as to what we had all just witnessed. The meeting closed, and Zack walked 
directly to me. My heart was racing not knowing what he was about to do. He shook my 
hand, greeted us warmly, told us he loved Kathy and me, and that he knew this would be 
our Diamond year. This knocked me so far off balance that I was unable to think clearly. 
I felt like circuits were blowing in my mind. Rick, Paula, Kathy and I walked in a silent 
fog to our cars and drove without speaking. Something was very, very wrong here. On 
the way home, I knew that Kathy was as unhappy as I was, but we could not 
communicate negative at this level, yet. We were silently enraged over Kerry's pathetic, 
childish tattling on us. 

We had the training session, and the group was taken advantage of by having $10 
a couple extracted from them. I was unable to protect the people I loved the most from 



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being bled dry for a seemingly unending number of constant, mandatory meetings. We 
had so many of those meetings, training sessions, seminars, leadership meetings, Artistry 
sessions, men's meetings, full weekend and week-long travel seminars that it was 
difficult to find time to build The Business. We were perplexed beyond belief, but as 
incredulous as it sounds, we believed that we still had to forge on to Diamond. We were 
not yet capable of either rational or free thought. 

Actually, we no longer had the ability to reason. Lacking this capacity, I still 
believed this was a good business. We must just be dealing with a few bad apples. Once 
we went Diamond, we could run our own organization and treat people with compassion, 
integrity, and a servant's heart. Once we became Diamonds, Zack would understand that 
we had always been truly loyal — not only to him, but also to the virtues on which The 
Business was founded. He would know he could trust us. More than ever, we had to get 
the job done. Kathy continued to take care of all the details of our home, our children and 
her husband, who now suffered near catatonic episodes. 

I moved about in a fearful, confused fog. I listened to more tapes to get my 
attitude turned back on the right track. I tried to go through the motions but could not 
fake it any longer. Everything I had believed in seemed to be falling apart. However, my 
brain was programmed to believe I was at fault. Something must be wrong with me. 

I avoided Dick and Elena and the other people I was working with personally. I 
could not afford for them to see me down or depressed. A leader never gets down. A 
leader leads, and yet, I was unable to lead. I went from being a strong, confident leader 
and encourager to a shadow of a man, afraid even to answer the phone. Kathy and I felt 
trapped. 

We had brought thousands into our organization and needed to succeed for their 
sake as well as our own. We were trapped with an upline that seemed bent on destroying 
us if we showed even the slightest appearance of disloyalty. We had been branded as 
disloyal and negative and so had lost face with Zack. We were doomed. It took a supreme 
effort for me to keep the darkness at bay. It was killing me. I was tormented continually 
by my own conflicting thoughts. I tried to shut out the negative thoughts, but I struggled 
more and more, because on some level or other, it was starting to sink in that the negative 
thoughts might very well be the truth. That concept was more horrifying than any other, 
because an entire decade of my life would have been lost to a manipulative system that 
ate people like me alive. 



"It's not about ego. It's serving other people. That's what 
Dexter is all about. Serving your fellow man...." 

- Amway Crown Jody Victor* 



' Jody Victor, It's Unbelievable audiocassette Stock No. DBR 987, Copyright unknown 



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1 DEX: TUES. EVENING, PART II audiotape GDL 96-40 Part II Copyright 1996 Internet Services 
Corporation 

2 Case number 97-349-CIV-J-20B filed in the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District Court 

3 Case number 97-349-CIV-J-20B filed in the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District Court 

4 Directs meeting 1/99 



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CHAPTER 10 



The Walls Come 
a' Tumblin' Down 



'When you're loyal to upline, it's being loyal to God. 

- Amway Double Diamond, Linda Harteis' 



We had only one hope to make this work. That sole glimmer of hope was to meet 
with Zack and Molly and make them clearly aware of what had been happening. How 
could they not hear us? We had gone over the same issues with them many, many times. 
Kerry was becoming more maniacal in his overzealous approach to The Business. At one 
training session, he instructed our key distributors that they needed to succeed, if for no 
other reason than to "shove it down [the] throats" of those who had not believed in them. 
This did not seem to be a Christian ethic to me, but it was typical of the comments he was 
now making on a regular basis. Zack had given him unquestioned power and authority 
over our organization and us, and he was using it in unethical ways. 

In teaching distributors how to promote an expensive seminar, he advised that he 
would promote it to people until they bought tickets to it or quit. In his way of thinking, 
they would quit anyway if they didn't attend the seminars. On another occasion, he said 
that he was meeting with another guy that was going to commit to the next $400 full- 
weekend seminar or "wish he never met me." He was teaching our leaders to become so 
hardcore that they would cause people to quit in disgust. I knew it was wrong to 
intentionally blow people out of The Business if they didn't fully buy into the system. 
What he was teaching was unethical and was destroying our group, but I was powerless 
to stop those arrogant, off-track lectures. 

We called Zack and Molly and told them we were anxious to get on their schedule 
for counsel and get ourselves back on track. We sent a letter by fax to their home the 
morning we were supposed to get together. We had sent many faxes to both their home 
and office, and they had received all of them. However, part of me felt that Zack was a 
manipulator, so I took several copies to the meeting, in case he attempted to pretend that 
they had not received them. 

The letter went over the same insane situations we faced with Kerry's leadership 
that we had brought to their attention countless times before. It was professional, specific 
and to the point. I was tired of the psychological gymnastics Zack would run me through, 
so I committed it all to paper to assure he would get the message. In the letter, I advised 
him that there was no way we could possibly build our business under Kerry and Chris' 



' Linda Harteis, Ladies Meeting Tuesday Afternoon Part I, Stock No. GDL 96-35 Copyright Internet 
Services Corporation 



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now seemingly obsessed, nearly frothing Amway leadership. It had cost them almost 
their entire organization and was now eating at ours like a cancer. I advised there was no 
way we would work with them any longer. This was now a matter of financial survival 
for us. 

This was a terrifying thing to do, as no one told Zack what he or they were going 
to do, but we had no recourse. We could no longer build "our" business in this 
environment. I literally begged for the ability to earn enough income to live in dignity. 
The conclusion of the text of the letter is shown below. 

...This is not about power or authority or even success. This is 
about survival. I drive a 1987 Cadillac with 191,000 miles on it, a family 
van with 180,000, am trying to avoid a Federal tax lien, owe back property 
taxes, have a beautiful daughter that has a front tooth coming in sideways 
and we can't help her. Despite all of this, I believe in the greatness and 
integrity of you and in this business. You are real life heroes to us. The 
real miracle in all this is that we have contacted and managed to put in the 
legs (6) that are moving kits every week and will qualify them all by 
January 3 1 st . I am not looking for Amway welfare in the form of some 
special deal on tapes or tickets, nor do I want one cent that you have 
earned. I'm asking, no I'm begging you to let me have my dignity. Please 
help me build my business and keeping the hand grenades from being 
thrown in. I need a mentor. I need your correction and direction. Please 
help." 

This reveals my pathetic, confused and still trusting attitude toward Zack, who 
was like a surrogate father to me now. When we arrived, it was obvious that they had 
received the fax. Molly was visibly shaken and looked as if she had been crying. Her eyes 
were blackened on the bottom from smeared mascara. She usually looked very together, 
but that day, she looked terrible. Zack, on the other hand, was the iron man. He greeted us 
warmly with a big smile. He was extremely upbeat and happy. He told a few jokes and 
did not seem to have a care in the world. I instantly recognized what he was doing. He 
had taught us how to handle challenges like this: minimize, minimize, minimize. There 
was no challenge if, as a leader, you did not react as if there was a problem. His carefree 
demeanor concerned me, as I believed it meant he was going to pretend they never got 
the fax. This would put me in a position where I had to force the issue. 

We went over the usual logistics of reviewing our tape-of-the-week and seminar 
ticket sales. There was general discussion about our organization and some of the key 
leaders within it. Next we heard the usual 'we really care about you guys and will do 
anything to help you succeed' pitch. By this time, I was completely convinced this was 
not true. The rest of the meeting would prove it. I had written the letter, because Zack 
was brilliant and incredibly quick on his feet. He had a keen understanding of 
psychology, motivation, scripture, personality types, and the immense personal and 
financial power he wielded over his leaders. 

That, combined with his own personal version of leadership, loyalty, and the 
Cardinal Rules put him in a position where he was able to force us and our leaders 
through a series of incredible psychological gymnastics. We often left other sessions 



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questioning ourselves. Kathy and I commented on the way down to that particular 
meeting that hypothetically I could be in the lobby of his office building and be stabbed. 
After two hours of counseling with him in his boardroom, he would have me sincerely 
apologizing to the assailant for getting my blood on his knife. Most likely, I would have 
even offered to clean the knife as well. He could make you leave believing the sky was 
green. 

First, Zack danced around the issue, covering a lot of upbeat topics: how 
wonderful The Business is doing, and how he is seeing some of his groups double in size. 
Finally, he pulled the fax out of a folder and asked me to explain it to him. This time, I 
knew what he was doing. He wanted to make me explain every issue again and then 
shred it, and/or me, for bringing it up. I did not want to have to go through this and that is 
why I sent the letter by fax in the first place. We began a brief verbal battle that I was 
doomed to lose. He said that he did not read it and would rather have me explain it to 
him. 

I knew he would try to trip me up into appearing disloyal or stupid and defiant. I 
told him that from Molly's appearance, it was obvious that she read the fax, and there is 
no way on earth they drove from their home to the office alone without discussing 
something this serious. Molly said nothing. She did not want to lie, and I am certain she 
was fearful of defying Zack. 

The tension in the room was electric. He finally acknowledged that he read it but 
"did not understand it all" and wanted me to explain it to him point by point. If there was 
a real issue, I certainly would want to discuss it, right? He had me backed into a corner 
and forced me to read it to him from the copies I brought. He verbally assaulted me over 
nearly every situation I brought up, despite the facts involved. This was my hero doing 
this. This was my new father figure that I wanted to be proud of me. My emotions were 
in such turmoil, I could not think straight. He was not who he seemed to be; yet I so 
wanted him to be honest and upright and worthy of respect. He just had to be. I finally 
broke down and wept; and, in front of my wife, begged for the ability to build my 
business and feed my family. I felt completely emasculated before her. I felt like a crying, 
worthless sack of human flesh. 

Zack mocked me for bringing the same issues up again, saying, "What do you 
want to do, go talk to Dexter about it?" No one is allowed to go past him to Dexter. He 
backed us into a verbal and emotional corner and asked us questions with only one 
appropriate response — just like the ones he had taught us to ask prospects. Zack is not the 
kind, humble servant we had once believed him to be. He asked us if we thought he was 
taking time out of his life just to waste it or to help us. He did not think we could believe 
that he would take his valuable time to hurt us... There would be no point in talking 
further if we didn't believe he was trying to help us. 

I went along with this just so he would not cut us off totally. I was so very 
confused. We drove home in silence, each trying to digest this strange meal of anger, 
love, hate, loyalty and pain. We were unable to process logically what had just happened 
to us. What on earth would we do now? We could never tell the group of this, as they 
would be hurt by it. It was far too negative. But how could we still help them if we were 
powerless to help ourselves? It was not possible that Zack and Molly did not understand 
what was happening. Yet, they were good, moral Christian leaders, weren't they? Their 
success seemed to show us that they were wise. Who did this wisdom and this success 



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come from? 

The financial counsel we received was wrong. Despite the fact that we told Zack 
we owed back taxes on our home and back Federal taxes to the IRS, he insisted that we 
go on the next two trips. He said he was certain we were resourceful enough to find a 
way. He brought up the fact that we missed the $5,000 Alaskan leadership cruise and 
informed me that it cost me a lot by not attending. The next trip coming up would be a 
trip to his 3,000 acre ranch in southwestern Colorado. The trip after that would be a 
Directs' trip to Cancun. As usual, of course, this had to be booked with a form he 
provided through his agent, Convention Concepts. A travel agent in our organization later 
advised us that we could have booked both the airfare and hotel for what they we paid for 
the hotel alone. 

In any event, Kathy and I processed this information differently. I did not know at 
the time, but she had been almost totally off the tapes for close to a year. I thought she 
was a little negative, as she began questioning things, starting with Zack's outrageous 
financial advice in wanting us to attend these expensive trips. 

A few days later, without my knowledge, she called Molly and told her that she 
was confused. She repeated the gist of what we had already told her and Zack both in 
writing and in person. Once again, Kathy explained that we were broke. We could lose 
our home to tax sale, and we owed the IRS and many other creditors lots of money. We 
drove good-looking junk cars that we could barely afford to keep on the road. Given all 
this, Kathy asked, were they sure we were supposed to find a way to borrow even more 
money to go on these trips? Molly stammered and said "No." 

Kathy felt very relieved but did not tell me anything of the conversation yet. It 
would be very negative for her to question my ability to figure it out or to question 
Zack's counsel. She knew, from repeated badgering at women's sessions, she was not 
supposed to counsel me, because we were at the same income level. The next day, 
though, she had to explain it to me, because we had a voice mail from Molly. 

The voice mail explained that she had checked with Zack and had given Kathy 
inaccurate counsel. I should go to both Cancun and Colorado as a leader, but Kathy did 
not have to go. This came as somewhat of a relief, since I would have to raise less money 
to get to both places. A leader never misses any meeting or an opportunity to get around 
their upline to learn. While I was moderately relieved, Kathy was appalled, but she would 
not speak of it for over a year, due to the internalized system rules regarding "negative" 
and supporting your husband. She knew this advice sounded insane. She also knew that I 
would not defy Zack and destroy what I believed to be our family's only hope for a 
future. Zack's responses confused me, but I wanted to trust his advice. I no longer 
enjoyed any contact with him and no longer liked him. Strangely, part of me still thought 
he just did not understand us yet and would come around soon. However, the truth we 
were about to discover was worse than anything we could have imagined. 

I traveled across the country for his leadership meeting at the log mansion he had 
built on his land. It was a long trip. Kerry and I flew out together to Colorado Springs and 
rented a Ford Explorer for the two-hour drive to the ranch. He could act almost normal at 
times when he was away from Chris, the group, and Zack. As soon as we arrived, Zack 
greeted us in the driveway. We were tired from the trip, but no sooner had we stepped 
from the truck, then he shook our hands and pointed to an oil spot on the new concrete 
driveway that he wanted us to clean. He gave us specific instructions, so as not to ruin the 



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rag. We cleaned the spot immediately. Welcome to Colorado. We were unpaid servants. 
Was I the only one who saw this? It seemed that I could perceive things, as the other 
Emeralds and Diamonds talked, that I could not when I was so deeply into the system. 
Perhaps it is more accurate to say, when the system was more deeply into me. Something 
was very wrong, but I still could not identify the problem. 

I returned from this trip feeling more and more tormented and confused. I 
prepared for and flew to Cancun for the Directs' trip. I was completely broke and barely 
had enough money for food for the whole trip. This only reinforced my feelings that I 
must be the biggest failure in the world. Here I was completely destitute and in Cancun 
without my wife and family. This was insane. I made excuses not to go on most of the 
excursions and trips when invited; however, bad news hit when Larry, our upline Direct, 
decided that the whole group should go on a bus trip to the South. It cost quite a bit. Most 
all the distributors went, and I had no choice. If I did not go, the rest of my group might 
follow my lead and ruin his plan. My funds were wiped out. 

It's funny how anger can sometimes clear the brain. I was finally getting angry 
enough to be able to think and spot the contradictions. For instance, a dinner was held at 
which the Diamonds lectured us. Two Diamonds stood up and announced that we needed 
to learn to be productive if we wanted to be successful. They bragged that even though all 
of us had been in Cancun for four days at an oceanfront hotel, they had not seen the 
beach once. They had been busy counseling their people and getting counseled by Zack. I 
shook my head. This was so pathetic. They emphasized the pleasures of the incredible 
Diamond lifestyle, and then these Zombies came to a beachfront hotel in Cancun with 
their wives, and proudly announced they worked too hard to visit the beach. What had 
they been smoking? As usual, the group of leaders at my table took notes furiously in an 
attempt to better understand this 'wisdom.' 

In The Business, distributors are admonished never to take a family vacation until 
they go Direct. This teaches good goal setting and the benefits of delayed gratification. 
The problem is that most distributors never will go Direct. Others, who sacrifice for 
years, may finally go Direct but only after taking extraordinary time from their families. 
Many have not taken a family vacation in years, in deference to their upline's wise 
counsel. (I say this as background information to help you understand my anger at the 
next Diamond's talk.) 

The next Diamond ripped up one side and down the other of Distributors who had 
brought their children. This was a business meeting, and an opportunity to receive 
counsel from members of your upline. You might have a rare chance to spend ten 
minutes with Zack, but he would not be able to counsel you with your kids climbing all 
around. 

I was disgusted. I missed my family so much. These people seemed like raving 
lunatics, talking out of both sides of their mouths. We were lied to. We were still being 
told that The Business took twelve to fifteen hours a week of 'TV time' when our kids 
were sleeping. It was supposed to give us family time, as we developed large, so-called 
residual incomes. The truth is we ended up working all the times our kids needed us. We 
were gone almost constantly on nights and weekends, when they were home. Some of 
these poor kids hardly ever saw their parents, particularly their fathers. It seemed 
outrageous that these hardworking distributors were now being reprimanded for bringing 
their precious children on a trip to spend time together. What a wake-up call! These 



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Diamonds seemed to have gone off the deep end. The life they were promoting was 
bizarre and unlivable — one that I wanted no part of. The upline is not more important 
than anything else is. 

There was something very, very wrong here. I went home, got online, and began 
to read many of the lawsuits against Amway, Dexter Yager, and other Kingpin 
distributors like Bill and Peggy Britt. What we found was a lot of information that 
revealed not only that there was income from the tools, but also that this income would 
be a large portion of the Amway Diamond's income. How could that be possible? Had 
they all lied to us? I went back and re-read the whole Brig Hart lawsuit and many others. 



To Be or Not to Be 

"To use competing products, to question the Amway system, 
to associate with friends who try to steal your Dream by 
deriding Amway, is, by implication, allying yourself with the 
forces of darkness and despair and poverty against the forces 
of light and hope and wealth." 

- Stephen Butterfield ' 

There was an enormous amount of what I believed to be truly hostile, negative 
information about Amway and its key distributor leaders. One web site had information 
about a Canadian Fraud case, for which Amway had to pay a multimillion-dollar fine. 
What was the real truth? The Amway Corporation was founded, owned and run by solid 
Christian families, wasn't it? Some big distributors might have done things to give 
Amway bad press, but I was certain that they had not committed fraud. Whoever put 
those web sites up was way overboard. 

There was quite a bit of information regarding how incredibly expensive Amway 
products were in comparison to similar products you could buy off the shelf at the store. 
The party line immediately flashed across my mind. 'These people simply did not 
understand the power of concentration. Amway products were very concentrated and, as 
such, lasted much longer than a competitor's products.' They were not comparing apples 
to apples in this so-called price review. I was very surprised that people would take this 
amount of time to put together a web site like this, when they could be doing something 
productive with their lives. 

As I did more Internet searches under the word Amway, I found more web sites 
with nearly identical complaints. There were quite a few references to cultism and mind- 
control techniques. Once again, the tapes played through my mind — This was a farce. 
How could a business that starts training sessions and every seminar with a prayer and a 
pledge of allegiance to the American flag be a cult? Those charges were ludicrous. It was 
a shame that so much trash was included with the few smaller points that might have had 
some merit. 

In one sense, all the Internet information did not help me. I felt more and more 



' Butterfield, Stephen, Amway, The Cult of Free Enterprise, Copyright 1985, p. 29. 



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uneasy. I did not know it, but I was still well over a year away from beginning to think 
clearly and to reason without the system-installed paradigms, through which I now 
filtered all information. Unconsciously, I was overcoming my own objections and 
mentally deleting information that did not conform to the world, as I believed it to be. I 
had read a great deal of negative, harmful, fact-based information but did not see it. I was 
operating with a psychological blind spot that I would later learn is called, by researchers, 
a scotoma. 

Three things happened that shattered the world I knew, or believed to exist. The 
first was a comment that my mother-in-law made. Despite all the in-law jokes, I have the 
world's best mother-in-law. Kathy's parents are two of the most kind, gentle, honorable 
people I have ever known. They also have been very supportive, despite being aware of 
the near insane schedule we kept and the little real contact we had with them since we got 
in The Business. They were always there with an encouraging word. This was extremely 
unusual for people on the 'outside.' 

Kathy was talking with her mother one day, and her mother remarked, in all 
kindness, that I had changed. I had been so energetic and full of life and enthusiasm when 
we got started in The Business. I had told them how much time it was going to give us as 
a family, but now it seemed like I would see them more if I had two full-time jobs. I was 
constantly exhausted, and the happiness, I once had been known for, had long since left 
me. 

Kathy repeated this to me, and I argued with her. I backed her down and 
overcame her mother's objection with about five automatic, well-rehearsed, rapid-fire 
analogies. Working for my own business to eventually be totally free was far better than 
being a broke, slave [employee] for the rest of my life. 

It made me angry that she would even repeat something like this. The effort to 
continue overcoming all objections was draining. Deep in my spirit, I knew that Kathy 
and her mom were right. Yet, at the same time, I knew this couldn't be a reality, because 
that would require facing it and making changes. We got in this business almost for the 
sole purpose of creating enough income to be together full time as a family. I could not 
surrender what I had cherished the most. Psychologically, I had lost the resources needed 
for me to even entertain this thought. 

The second event that brought a glimmer of truth into my life came from a talk 
with my son, Josh. He is a very warm, spirited, loving child. He makes friends easily and 
has nothing bad to say about anyone. I love this boy more than words can possibly 
express. He is one of the key reasons I had gotten into this business. More than anything, 
I wanted to have the time with him that divorce had robbed from my relationship with my 
own father. Being a good father was one of the most important ambitions of my life. 

Josh and I were having a quiet talk one afternoon when he asked me a very 
pointed question. He looked me right in the eye and said, "Dad, when we go Diamond, 
you'll be home some, and I'll see you, right?" Automatically I responded, "Of course," 
and described briefly how I was looking forward to it. A feeling of nausea swept over me, 
and I left the room as quickly and inconspicuously as possible. 

I nearly vomited as I realized, on a conscious level, that I had just lied to my best 
friend in the world. For the first time, I allowed myself to think 'negative' thoughts and 
realized that the Amway Diamonds were working eight-, ten-, twelve-, and fifteen-hour 
days up to seven days a week. Although Zack had told of the joys of family time when 



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recruiting us, the truth was far different. At the leadership level, we learned that he often 
watched his own son's sports victories on video, because he was too busy to be there. 
Molly had confided in Kathy and another Emerald that their youngest daughter had told 
her that she hated her for ever marrying Zack (her father). The Diamonds were gone 
almost constantly. One Diamond's son had been electrocuted and killed when he and his 
wife were away from home. Backstage, I heard one Diamond bragging that he had only 
slept in his own bed eight nights that month, because he was on the road so much. So 
much for the famed Diamond lifestyle. Why had they lied to us? What was the point? 

I was crushed by the overwhelming weight of just this small amount of truth. I 
was an absentee dad. Kathy had been a single mother for years. My mind was spinning in 
a whirlwind of seemingly irrational, tormenting thoughts. What was going on? Part of me 
knew that there was a real problem, but I was completely incapable of discerning the 
root. In my torment, it was by the grace of God that I made a decision that changed my 
life. I decided to 'unplug' from the system in ways that would be invisible to the group. I 
stopped listening to tapes every day and reading books from the approved list. I felt they 
were keeping me from being able to have clear thoughts. 

I stopped showing the plan, and fortunately, our group was so large that no one 
knew. They all assumed I was working with other leaders or in new organizations that I 
had been developing. We made mandatory appearances at training sessions, open 
meetings, and seminars. The longer I was "off the tapes," the more problems slowly 
became apparent to me. I was beginning to remember conversations and situations that I 
had blocked out and not allowed myself to think about. I was backstage hosting a group 
of Diamond ladies, and they were all laughing hysterically. When I got to the table to 
deliver their drinks, I heard what they thought was so amusing. Several of them were 
sharing how many times each of them had been so completely busy that they had 
forgotten to pick up their own children at school. What a lifestyle! 

The third incident happened within a few weeks of the first two. I got a call from 
Keith, a Ruby Direct in our organization. He wanted to get together for lunch to go over 
some things. We had worked together in the corporate world and had grown close over 
the near decade we had worked together in The Business. He was the only one in our 
entire organization who worked as hard as I worked. He was a true road warrior. As a 
matter of fact, he probably worked harder than I did during that last year. He still had a 
job and would drive on alternating nights to New York and then New Jersey. He would 
routinely get home between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. and get up at 7:00 a.m. to put on his suit 
and go to work and do the same thing over again. I had been concerned he would actually 
die on the road and had asked him not to schedule these out of town trips back to back. 
He, like me, would do anything to buy his freedom to be with his family. 

We got together at a Chinese restaurant near his office and settled in for our meal. 
We went over the usual 'fired up' jargon, and suddenly, the mask came off. He was 
speaking, paused quietly for a moment, and with tears in his eyes, he told me that he had 
driven 40,000 miles the previous year, had almost never seen his wife or daughters, and 
made a net income of only about $4,000. He was one of our most successful, driven 
distributors. People in his group thought he was making about $50,000. Hard to believe 
and yet, from the representations we were all given, he thought I was making over 
$100,000. His wife, Lisa, had written him a letter telling him that she was sick of being a 
single mother and would not live like that any longer. He was willing, literally, to die in 



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the pursuit of his freedom. He looked at me, welling up with emotion, seeking the 
encouragement I had always provided. At that moment, he needed me to tell him it was 
going to be worth it. 

Once again, a wave of shock and physical nausea overcame me. As always, I was 
careful to not reveal it. How could I possibly reveal something that I did not understand? 
I had worked closely with him and his wife for nearly a decade in business; yet we had 
never discussed his income. Why was it that we would not discuss his income in a 
business that had a 100% success rate? I had counseled him as we had been counseled. 
We went over his goal sheet and always discussed his tape and ticket sales. The income 
was supposed to follow these numbers. I was in a state of complete disbelief and panic, as 
I realized that of all the details tracked by this vital business building tool, there was no 
place to record or track your income. There was a reason for this! We were not 
supposed to focus on our income but the bigger picture of long-term success. I thought I 
was beginning to grasp what the training had truly been about. 

My mind was reeling as another layer of truth was revealed to me. Keith told me 
he felt like a phony and was having a hard time telling others how great The Business 
was when he was making almost nothing after nearly a decade of full-time effort, in 
addition to his job. He didn't know what he was doing wrong and felt like a loser. I had 
thought it was just me that felt like that. We were all psychologically conditioned to 
believe we were the problem if we were not earning what we were supposed to receive. 
He and I had both worked like animals for pathetic incomes. I was still grappling with 
what appeared to be a terrible revelation. I was sickened and needed to get out of the 
restaurant. I recommended he spend some quality time with his wife and girls, as it would 
help him re-group. He needed it desperately. I left as suddenly as I could without 
arousing too much suspicion. 

I drove for hours in my car, without a tape playing, and began to think somewhat 
clearly for the first time in as long as I can remember. It was a strange sensation. If what I 
was now beginning to understand was true, Dexter, Zack and other Diamonds may have 
perpetrated perhaps the largest global business fraud in history. At the very least, it 
appeared that they had collaboratively extracted as much as a billion dollars in book, 
tape, and seminar money by well-coordinated deception. If this was true, I must face an 
even darker revelation. If all of it was a well-orchestrated fraud, then I had taken an 
enormous sum of money from the people that I loved the most. Having been an auditor, I 
quickly ran some numbers in my head and estimated that I had collected somewhere in 
the range of $3-4,000,000 or more in book, tapes, videos, and seminar money from my 
dearest friends and family. Yes, I even collected tool money for the "system of success" 
from my own father. My mind slammed shut, but there was a storm brewing within me 
that I would not be able to ignore. 

I began a quest for the truth, mostly to prove to myself that my new beliefs were 
unfounded. I did not want to believe any of this. This was a good, honorable business, 
predicated upon servant-hood. Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Senator Rick Santorum, Jack 
Kemp, Mary Lou Retton, Jerry Falwell, Billy Zeoli, Charles Stanley, Robert Schuller, 
Dave Thomas, Dennis Waitely, Zig Ziglar, Oliver North and Newt Gingrich had directly 
or indirectly lent their credibility to this organization when they came in to speak at large 
seminars. There were Senators and mayors who were distributors. They were all 
relatively wise people. They certainly could not all have been conned or been in on the 



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deal if they knew it was crooked. It had to be stress to make me think so irrationally. I 
went into my auditor's mode. Thank God that for those nine years I had been taping 
training sessions, seminars, open meetings, and counseling sessions with Zack and Molly. 
Little did I know how valuable those tapes would really become. 

I could only share my fears and conflicting thoughts with Kathy. I was still 
running a relatively large organization of people who were counting on me. I needed to 
discover the truth, whatever it might look like. I began reviewing the nearly 200 hours of 
tapes that I had recorded myself from training sessions. I also began to attend many open 
meetings to really listen and observe the representations made. I taped them for 
documentation too. I "knew" the whole business could not possibly be a fraud. 

Amway and Amway distributors had collected over $20,000,000 for Easter seals. 
How could any benevolent donation that large come from a source that was beginning to 
sound like a bad, corrupt business? I needed to prove to myself once and for all that this 
was not true, so I could move on to Diamond. In retrospect, deep in my spirit, I already 
knew but could not comprehend the truth. To have completely rational thought at that 
time would have been devastating. I was unable to face the enormous burden of the blood 
of good, honorable people that would be on my own hands if this were all true. In case it 
was a fraud, I would expose it. But I realized, at an early stage, that I would be crushed 
like an insect without volumes of documentation. I began collecting what would grow to 
a cache of over 2,000 commercially recorded 'system' tapes and videos. 

We were scheduled to do a seminar and speak to a large group of people in the 
Pittsburgh area. To cancel this would have brought immediate attention to us. We 
agonized over how we could do this with the uncertainty we now possessed. For our own 
sanity's sake, we had to believe that The Business was good. Maybe we were just dealing 
with some corrupt people. We decided to do the seminar but to keep most of our 
comments generic. I would give the distributors some good motivation to apply success 
principles to every area of life and cover The Business in as general terms as possible. 
We were greeted warmly and treated like royalty while we were there. We could now 
identify that most all the leaders there seemed to be making false positive professions 
about how well they were doing and about The Business. We had no way to know 
without crosslining. Income was a taboo topic. They had the same robotic fake smiles on 
their faces that we used to flash to everyone. I knew where these canned smiles came 
from — they were well-conditioned, 1000-tape smiles. The deceit was being revealed, and 
our hope was being stripped away in layers. 

We began to realize that we may be a part of something that had some horrific 
problems. We could not yet face or comprehend the magnitude of them. We did know, at 
this point, that under no circumstances would we do another seminar. We soon began to 
feel like we were leading sheep to slaughter. We went to an open meeting and several of 
our Direct Distributors spoke afterwards and regurgitated the tapes verbatim, saying how 
happy and excited they were and how much The Business had helped their marriages. We 
still could only comprehend some of the truth. Or were they all lies? We knew them too 
well. We knew all their situations from counseling with them. 

At a major function about a year earlier, one of our leaders confided in us that he 
and his wife were having major problems. They were actually discussing divorce. They 
had to fly to Texas to see a pastor to try to save their marriage with counseling. I was 
deeply ashamed to admit that within an hour of being told this delicate information in 



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complete confidence, I told Zack. I still believed that he had wisdom and could solve all 
problems. We were trained to do this, as it could affect his business as well as ours. We 
were complimented by Zack and were told we had made a wise decision by sharing with 
him. I was now completely sickened by the level of perversion of my own twisted 
loyalties. For a brief moment, we seemed 'plugged in' and very loyal to Zack, but I had 
sold my soul and a friend's trust to do it. I was beginning to hate myself for what I had 
done in the name of Amway. Soon, it became far worse. 

We had a large local seminar coming up in our area. We went and it was an 
agonizing ordeal. We could more clearly see the cesspool of lies we had actually 
accepted as truth for the past few years. We could barely go through the motions. We 
were not the speakers but were frequently used to motivate the group or do specific 
promotions. Our minds were still racing in an attempt to understand what had happened 
to our good friends, our leaders, this business, and us. Weren't we all virtuous once? 
What happened next was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. 

At the end of the seminar, as was customary, all the Direct couples walked on 
stage and stood in a semi-circle. All the distributors in the audience would clasp hands 
and sing "God Bless America." Kerry, the host, made a comment that hit like a bullet. He 
looked back at the stage full of Direct, Ruby and Emerald-level distributors and made a 
comment to the effect of look at all the success we have here. "No one is going to say 
The Business doesn't work here." On the surface, it appeared to be true. They were a 
well-groomed and well-dressed, smiling group of robots. Most drove Cadillacs to the 
seminar. 

I went down the line and did a mental inventory of what they had told us about 
their situations: 

• One Direct had left his job under bad circumstances and was nearly 
$40,000 in debt since getting into Amway. 

• Another had lost his job, due to his militant loyalty to his business and 
had since started another traditional business but was nearly $60,000 
in debt. 

• One leader was trying not to get divorced. 

• A dedicated member had fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed his 
newly purchased, white Cadillac. 

• Two of the moms on stage had 'retired' — complete with a limousine 
picking them up at work, but they were now back at jobs. 

• Another Direct had been fired for using his company's phone, truck, 
and contacts for his Amway business. He is a wonderful, energetic 
young man, but his self-esteem was destroyed when this happened, 
and he has not gotten it back. 

• Another Profit Sharing Direct was Keith, whose wife had just written 
him a letter saying she could not live like that anymore. 

• One other Direct on stage was being audited by the IRS. He was just 



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one of three leaders in our group currently being audited. 

• All three ultimately had large amounts of deductions disallowed and 
had assessments in the $5,000 range. 

• One of the Directs above had his wife threaten to leave him several 
times. 

Understand now that the audience believed that those of us on stage were making 
from $25,000 to over $100,000 a year and were debt free. The truth is that many of the 
Direct Distributors were actually running their business at a loss. Yes, they were losing 
money. We were near bankruptcy as Emeralds. We had to go to a credit counseling 
service to have them negotiate lower monthly payments from all our creditors, so we 
could stay afloat. The distributors in the audience were making sacrifices of money and 
time away from their families, so they could live as well as those of us on stage. How 
ironic! 

The leaders on stage were not stupid people. Our Directs included an eye surgeon, 
a lead homicide detective, a professional log buyer, a CPA, two insurance executives and 
others. They were the hardest working, most loyal, charismatic group of people I had 
ever known. They were our family. Sadly, most of them felt like failures, as they had 
been well conditioned to believe that everyone else was making out well. Most of them 
believed, as I had, they were losers and were not making money in this incredible 
business, due to a lack of faith or a poor work ethic. There was not a harder working, 
tougher group of people. Those men were the road warriors. They were the Marines of 
Amway. They were the first in and the last out of every meeting. They could live on 
almost no sleep. They were thankful for the wonderful opportunity and the mentoring of 
upline millionaires. But they were being slowly destroyed, and all the while, they were 
thanking and praising those who were taking their money. 

After almost 45 days without listening to any tapes, I began to see more clearly. 
We clasped hands on stage, and Keith's wife led us in singing "God Bless America." I 
looked out at the beautiful people in the audience, knowing how I had promised to help 
them build a better life. They smiled and swayed gently, as we all sang. Some had hope 
in their eyes and others had tears of joy, in knowing they had now found a way to a better 
life. I glanced over my shoulder at the well-dressed group of leaders, whose lives were in 
tatters. I now saw the truth but could not yet understand how the average net income for 
the Emeralds, the Rubys, the Profit Sharing and Silver Direct distributors in this 
organization was more accurately near $3,000 a year, and that was after all the system 
expenses . 

I felt sick. I was totally, completely burdened with the crushing weight of all their 
crumbling lives. I looked into the audience and saw many good friends that Kathy and I 
loved. They joined this business and its related system for success, because they 
completely trusted us. I had tied them (and their children) firmly on the train tracks, and 
now I could hear the rumble of the train! They were nodding and winking at me in 
gratitude. (As I write this, nearly two years later, tears are streaming down my face. I still 
have that image in my mind.) My heart started pounding as if it were going to rip from 
my chest. Immense pressure moved from my chest to my head as tormenting, conflicting 
thoughts screamed through my mind. 



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I could barely breathe, as we made a quick exit from the seminar. I could not even 
reveal this deep shame to Kathy or that I felt like I was having a heart attack. I kept on 
walking, and in about fifteen minutes, my breathing and heart rate returned to normal, but 
there seemed to be a violent war of opposing thoughts, beliefs, and emotions raging in 
my head. I did not understand what was happening to me. Even if did, I could not "pass 
this negative" on to Kathy. We had enough stress in our own situation without her having 
to carry the tormenting weight that now rested on my shoulders. I needed an action plan. I 
needed far more information. 

Perhaps if I gathered enough documentation and threatened to go public, Zack 
would return our business to the honorable status it once held. Incredibly, in my mind, I 
thought The Business, as a whole, was good and could be fixed. I had to stay active 
enough to appear 'plugged in.' The only way we could ethically justify going to 
seminars, training sessions, and open meetings was that I needed to stay undercover at the 
highest level possible to gather large amounts of documentation directly from 
representations made by Diamond-level distributors. It was the only way we could 
ultimately protect our people. 



The Ants Go Marching One by One 

Could any of this be fixed? What was wrong? How could this all have happened? 
Why could so many sharp people not discern what was happening to them? Was I just 
making excuses for my own inability to make a good income at the Emerald level, a 
pinnacle of success? As many of the tapes said, "You could make money, or you could 
make excuses...." Which was I doing? The old programming kicked in. Because I 
seemed unable to solve my own financial challenges, was I just looking for someone to 
blame? How could we have gone far over $100,000 in debt after getting into a business 
that was sold to us as having no employees, no risk, and no overhead? Was Zack a 
ruthless thief, marginally honest, or a wonderful servant? How could I not know the 
answer to this question? How could I travel the world, reach a supposedly high level of 
success, speak with confidence to thousands, and still feel like a loser and complete 
failure? I could not comprehend what was happening. 

Those questions and many others began firing through my mind. I think at a 
subconscious level, I already knew the answers, but a dark veil once again descended 
upon my ability to think clearly. God had entrusted many lives to us, and the guilt and 
shame of what I had unconsciously done was almost more than I could bear. Our 
downline leaders were running around dressed well, driving Cadillacs, with perpetual 
1,000-tape smiles on their faces and being unbelievably upbeat as possible. The truth is 
that they were a completely broken, discouraged group of people, whose financial, 
spiritual, and family lives were falling apart. They were unable to acknowledge reality. 
To the outside world, they appeared to be succeeding. They had all the trappings — nice 
clothing, cars, exotic travels and totally upbeat, positive demeanors. They all believed 
they had chosen a new, special life. They were happily deceived, mostly from pseudo- 
Christian principles that I had so thoroughly taught them. 

As I later discovered, I was then functioning with a high level of what 
psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a method in which your 



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mind works to resolve an internal conflict that arises, concerning what you perceive to be 
true when you are faced with information or situations that contradict this perception. It is 
unnatural for us to consciously and knowingly retain an illogical belief. Our subconscious 
mind has two choices when faced with information that challenges a belief set or 
paradigm that we embrace. If the information is not too threatening to our global beliefs, 
we can accept this information and use it as a foundation for a new belief. 

When this does not happen, and the information strongly contradicts a core belief, 
cognitive dissonance comes into play, as the mind attempts to resolve the internal conflict 
between the new information and a contradicting belief set. It sounds more complicated 
than it is. We have all experienced it in one form or another. Have you ever been looking 
for something and could not find it for quite a long period of time, only to have someone 
walk right up and point it out — directly in front of you! 

You may have said, "Honey, there's no milk in the refrigerator" three or four 
times while staring directly at it. Isn't it embarrassing then when she walks up and says, 
"What's that?" (Why, it's that gallon of milk in front of your nose.) Did you see it 
before? Of course you did, but externally and internally your dialogue reflected your 
belief that there was no milk. Your mind went to work to make you believe that there was 
no milk there and created a scotoma (literally a blind spot) to resolve the cognitive 
dissonance. You saw it, but your mind deleted it from your conscious perception. Have 
you ever been frustrated because you could not find your glasses and then felt foolish 
when you realize you were wearing them? We have all had experiences like this. 

As my strongest core beliefs began to falter, I began to see and remember 
situations where I had previously been blind. Two examples as they related to The 
Business immediately came to mind. The first was in regard to facial hair. The dress code 
in our organization required men to wear a red tie, white shirt, dark suit and absolutely no 
facial hair. You would not be given a leadership duty if you had a beard or mustache. 
You would be seen as not totally 'plugged in' and as setting a poor example for your 
group if you chose to violate the dress code. No leaders broke this or any other code and 
still maintained their leadership role. 

The problem was that Dexter Yager had sported a full or partial beard since we 
joined in The Business. Guess what? After about a year of indoctrination, we never saw 
it. We unconsciously blocked out Dexter's flaws and those of other Diamond leaders. We 
were with Dexter in person in small rooms. I was even alone with him and Zack on his 
private jet. He was also prominently pictured in Profiles of Success and in his own Dream 
Builders magazine. The beard was in front of us all the time. We saw his picture every 
single night when we showed the plan and then the Profiles of Success, but we did not 
'see' the beard. If I had 'seen' the beard, I would have had to wrestle with the fact that 
Dexter was violating a rule that we identified as critical. No deviations from the system 
he created were permitted. What a paradox! 

The second example involved Zack. First, let me tell you that I have black friends. 
As a matter of fact, Kathy's best friend from college, the woman who was the maid of 
honor at our wedding, is black. I despise racism of any type. Given that background, it 
disturbed me that there were very few black distributors in Zack's organization. There 
were two interracial couples. I was told by one Direct and one Diamond that these mixed 
marriages really bothered Zack. The Diamond said it was so bad that they kept this 
couple away from Zack as much as possible. 



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On one occasion, we were discussing the customs of some wonderful Mennonite 
folks in our organization. Molly talked about people that had different customs and 
advised that the Hasidic Jews in their organization really bothered Zack. On stage, Zack 
spoke of how great a business this was that a person could be compensated based upon 
his or her effort and not the color of their skin. Backstage, he seemed to enjoy telling and 
re -telling his leaders a joke in which O.J. Simpson is referred to as a 'Coon.' How could 
my mind resolve the disparity between my deeply rooted belief that Zack, my father 
figure, was a compassionate, Christian servant, and my hearing these overtly racist 
comments? I didn't see or hear it until much later when my deep core beliefs about him 
began to crumble. Only then could I process information that I found reprehensible. 

I was reading enormous volumes of court cases, books, articles, and former 
distributors' reflections on Amway, its related motivational organizations and cultism. I 
somehow 'deleted' or literally did not see much of it, as it directly contradicted my 
beliefs. I would read and re-read the same information and come away blank. This 
situation did not make any sense to me. I thought I was losing my mind, as I had always 
been able to read large amounts of text with near total recall of the key points. How could 
I read forty pages of a simple court case, not remember the key causes for action, or even 
come away with no basic understanding of it? In retrospect, what I was learning was so 
wrong and so horrific that I could only handle it in gradual stages of revelation. My mind 
kept putting up buffers to hold me together. The small parts of information that I was able 
to perceive were destroying me. 

I began doing enormous amounts of research on Amway, going back as far as the 
early 1960s. I spent as many as 16 hours a day in my little home office at the computer 
scouring the web. I did not realize it, but I was becoming completely obsessed with 
discovering and documenting everything, and whatever the truth might be, I would have 
it in writing. Despite being off "the system" for some time now, I had paradigms, thought 
processes, and automatic emotional responses that were wrong but still functioned 
effectively without my consent. I sensed that I was not in control of many of my own 
thoughts and emotions. The feeling was terrifying. Day and night my mind was filled 
with an all-out war of opposing thoughts. The now constant noise in my head was 
deafening. 

It felt like I was sitting in between two sets of railroad tracks with freight trains 
careening by, inches from my head, in opposite directions. The noise and confusion were 
growing in intensity. I was in a fog most of the time I was awake, and I was often 
unaware of what was happening around me, as Kathy struggled to hold our family 
together. The war for my mind, in which I often felt like a spectator, had overtaken me. 

I faded in and out psychologically and would have a good day or two. My 
research continued, as I was now unable to stop my urgent day-in-and-day-out quest for 
the truth. From what I was reading, it appeared that the vast majority of the Diamonds' 
incomes came secretly from the tool business. It was looking as if Amway was just a 
good-looking, Christian, business opportunity that Dexter and his crew used as a front to 
recruit millions. This immediately linked them into the secret shadow business, which 
was the big money maker — selling books, tapes, and seminars to their own people. Being 
a former federal auditor and having testified on the state level for cases involving 
material misrepresentation, we seemed to have some real legal problems here. It looked 
like the majority of distributors in the United States had been recruited under completely 



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false pretenses. 

Distributors had been routinely recruited, across the country, with nearly an 
identical pitch. In many cases, they were told any or all of the following about the 
Amway business: 

1) It would only take 12-15 hours a week 

2) Amway required no investment or risk 

3) There was no selling, just self-use of products 

4) There was no overhead 

5) You had freedom to run and own your own independent business 

6) It was a two- to five-year financial plan to complete financial freedom 

7) You could retire young, due to residual income 

8) You can pass the tax-free, residual, income stream on to future 
generations 

9) Emeralds made $100,000 and Diamonds at least $250,000-$300,000 

All of the above now seemed to be either completely false or a violation of 
Amway' s own code of conduct. Additionally, after every single plan I had seen, in 
several countries, Profiles of Success was used to show the lavish, wealthy lifestyles 
created by the Amway business. Millions of people were again and again shown the 
Amway Sales and Marketing plan and then Profiles of Success to document the success 
of upper-level Amway Distributors. It was beginning to look like the jets, yachts, 
mansions, jewelry, trips, and luxury cars depicted in this book were not purchased with 
Amway money, but more with system money extracted from faithful, trusting 
distributors. They had been deceived and raped for profit. 

These good people were told again and again by the Diamonds of the 100% 
success rate of the system. I had Zack and many others on tapes referring to this "100%" 
success rate. After recruiting somewhere far over 2,000 people into Amway over the 
years, approximately 10 made a net income of over one-dollar last year. To me, that 
looked like just under a 100% failure rate in the Amway business, despite the 'system of 
success.' Remember also that was after our organization, as a whole, pumped an 
estimated $3,000,000 or more into the system. Had all these good people been deceived, 
raped, and then conditioned to believe that they were failures, so they would go away 
quietly once their financial resources had been depleted? 

Many stayed in long after their resources were depleted and began borrowing 
money, just as we did, to invest in 'their businesses.' They were continually bombarded 
with analogies about investing in yourself and scripture quotes regarding reaping what 
you sow. If someone needed money, he had to have enough faith in God and this business 
to continue to sow his resources into it. Diamonds would mock people who would want 
to invest in their business only after it was profitable. That was like freezing to death by a 
fireplace and deciding to put wood in only after it provided heat. Every successful person 
understood investing, or so we had been coached. 

The only way to fail was to quit. Both Rich DeVos and the Amway Diamonds 



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advised distributors to never, never quit. The 'never, never quit' was an often repeated 
quote and was from a famous speech that Winston Churchill made to a graduating class 
many years earlier. To quit would be setting a life lesson that your children would later 
follow in life. Quitters would never win, and winners never quit. We would occasionally 
see people in the mall that had quit. They would avoid eye contact and scurry away like 
little rats so that they did not have see us and face their own failure. I remember thinking 
they were pathetic, lost souls with no hope. I had been almost disgusted by their lack of 
courage to do what it took in order to take care of their families. Now I wondered which 
of us was more pathetic. 

It was a tremendous strain to attend even the minimum of necessary meetings to 
keep the appearance that we were plugged in, while I gathered documentation. It was a 
living hell to knowingly see our good people further seduced. The only thing that kept me 
going was my loyalty to them. I had to either fix or expose this, for their sake. 

One of the most difficult of these occasions was when we went to a training 
session with Zack and Molly in our town. The group was full of excitement and falling 
all over themselves like Zack and Molly were movie stars or royalty. I feigned 
enthusiasm but felt repulsed by their presence. 

They began their relatively long talks, as I once again clicked on my tape 
recorder. What I could now see was a thinly veiled self-promotion. Zack talked about 
how many thousands of people they had helped make thousands of dollars a month. I 
knew for certain that he was lying. I knew that almost everyone in his organization was 
losing, despite their involvement in the alleged system of success and his 'wise' 
leadership. Both Zack and Molly went on to make lifestyle and income-relative 
representations that I believed to be totally false. Not a single person in the room was 
aware of the fact that they derived a huge income from the books, tapes, and seminars, 
and Zack was telling them that they could not succeed without them. He made references 
to God and faith, and I wanted to beat him unconscious. My heart screamed, "Don't use 
the Lord's name or scripture to rape the sheep!" When we exchanged small talk later in 
the evening, I sensed an evil presence all about him. How could I ever have been 
convinced by this man? 

Yet he was not a stupid man. In addition to being brilliant and charismatic, Zack 
was uncanny in his perceptive abilities. At times, we thought he could actually read our 
minds. He had a deep, penetrating gaze that focused on you and seemed to peer into your 
soul. It was as if you could keep no secrets from him, even in your heart. I felt very 
uneasy talking to him, as I regurgitated all the positive confessions that were expected. 
None of his leaders would get away with speaking or confessing negative in his presence. 
Kathy and I lied and went through the motions of telling them what someone at our level 
should be saying. We told him and Molly how excited we were about how this was going 
to be our Diamond year and how very thankful we were that they were willing to take 
their very valuable time to teach our organization and us. 

It is not clear when Zack sensed we might become a problem. We covered and 
masked our true emotions well enough to at least have him think we were just off track. 
Over the next few months, he began to circumvent us and counseled with leaders in our 
organization that he had previously never met with. I later learned that Zack and Kerry 
secretly arranged for Keith and Lisa to counsel with him. This was something they had 
always wanted to do. He was very shrewd. We did not understand at the time why he was 



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suddenly showing an interest in people he had hardly known in our group. 

The couples he was now meeting with were as naive as we had been not so very 
long ago. We had taught them to trust him without question. He was teaching them the 
belief that he would look after each of them as he would his own children. Zack was a 
master of psychology and keen in his understanding of human nature. Only later would 
we understand that he was building relationships and loyalties in depth around us so no 
matter what happened to us, the organization that we developed would remain intact. 
This would allow it to continue over time to pump millions more into his secretive book 
and tape income. We did not even see this coming. 

The deeper I got into the research, the more rotten and deceitful nearly every 
aspect of The Business seemed. It appeared as if the entire recruitment and training 
process was predicated upon fraud or outright intentional deceit. You may think that I 
would have had a feeling of relief having discovered this; however, there was no one on 
earth that would want me to be wrong more than me. If this was all true, I had butchered 
the lives of my closest friends and families. I had been used as a dupe to rob them of the 
very things I had promised that they would gain by getting into The Business with me. I 
had told them they could create incredible incomes, improve their lives, and spend more 
time with their families. As it turned out, nothing was further from the truth. This was not 
God's principle of reaping what you sowed. They had been intentionally and 
systematically deceived and robbed by an apparent collaboration of respected and well- 
known people, Diamonds and Amway. 

I did not want any of this to be true. I felt divided in two. Defying all reason, part 
of me still believed that this was a good business. Maybe I was just a loser with lots of 
excuses. If there were some minor problems with The Business, we could resolve them. 
Part of me was certain Zack would eventually make all of this right. My psychological 
problems became great, as I battled dark shadows in this mental war of conflicting 
thoughts, feelings, and loyalties. I found it more and more difficult to make even the 
simplest of decisions. Kathy had always admired my strength and decisiveness. Now, I 
agonized over small choices like what to eat or what time to get the mail. I was becoming 
more and more incapacitated. 

This was all the more agonizing, because in a weird way, I was fully aware of my 
weakness. It might not be bad losing your mind if you were oblivious to it, but I could 
feel myself slipping towards insanity. The arguments constantly raged in my mind and 
did so without any way of stopping them. I felt as if something was taking control of me. 

I began to have terrible nightmares. The first one was indicative of what I would 
experience for years, increasing in frequency until I had an episode every night. The first 
time it happened, I awoke from a terrifying dream, panic stricken, ripping the hair from 
my chest. I was hyperventilating and had a tremendous pressure in my chest. I thought I 
was having a heart attack — and I was only in my thirties! I felt certain I was about to die. 
Strangely enough, it actually was almost a relief because of the guilt I felt over those I 
had recruited and what I had done to my family. I did not want Kathy to watch me die 
and have terrible memories of my last moments. I moved quickly and quietly to our 
living room to lie down on the couch and accept my fate. The intensity of the chest 
pressure and hyperventilating subsided in about twenty minutes. I had mixed 
feelings — both glad and disappointed that I had lived. What was going on? 

I did not speak of it to Kathy. I did not need to speak negative into her life and 



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give her more worry. I continued to do more research and to gather job history 
information to get my resume together. How on earth would I tell a prospective employer 
that I got in Amway, rose to one of its highest, coveted levels, recruited thousands 
globally, and then realized that I had been used to steal millions of dollars from my 
closest friends? That sounds very stable doesn't it? At the same time, the thought of a job 
revolted me. I knew it was necessary but the other voice in my head was repeating the old 
paradigms for a J-O-B of Just Over Broke, Jackass Of the Boss and Jerk On Board. I 
would have to earn a living and be employed, and the thought of that completely repulsed 
me! The indoctrination had been thorough, all right. I thought that I certainly would be a 
loser, and I did not want to face this self-condemnation. 

We went to another seminar and a very strange thing happened. We were saying 
all the right things for the people around us when one of Zack's young Diamonds struck 
up a conversation with me. He had become, in my opinion, somewhat of a lunatic. Like 
me, he saw Zack as having replaced his father. He was fairly normal until he went 
Diamond. After going Diamond, he stopped in the middle of an open meeting and told 
the audience, which included prospects, that he was not there to entertain them but was 
going to do or say whatever the Holy Spirit directed him to say. Additionally, he was the 
one leader that claimed to be the most loyal to Zack. He, too, had stated that he was 
willing to die for Zack without question. 

I apparently had been identified as a potential "problem." We were talking about 
different topics, and out of the blue, he started telling me of his loyalty, and the size of his 
gun collection. In the recent past, his loyalty talks had been so bizarre that he had become 
notorious for them. He took things to the far extreme, very much as Kerry had done in the 
past. What he shared with me next crossed the line. He told me he was not afraid of 
prison and would 'take me out' if I ever messed with Zack. He advised he would do this 
to anyone that messed with Zack. He described in detail his gun collection of revolvers 
and 9mm automatics. He then told me that he had three Mac 10s that would do the job for 
sure. That weapon is very similar to the Uzi assault submachine gun. He would later do 
speeches from stage that Zack made into tapes and marketed to his group. He bragged 
about the death threat, his willingness to die to be the most loyal to Zack, and the fact that 
he had carried a gun with a fifteen round clip. His own wife admitted at a taped seminar 
that he had threatened to shoot her through the back if she ever left him. Strangely, 
perhaps because he was the most loyal, these "teachings" were disseminated to the group 
on tapes. 

He patted me on the shoulder, smiled, and walked away, leaving me in a stunned 
silence. Had that message been sent by Zack? Had I been found out? He was not kidding, 
as I knew him well. He had the capacity not only to do this, but also to see it as the 
ultimate test of loyalty. I believed he would kill me or anyone else who happened to get 
in the way of The Business. It did not matter that he might get caught, since that would 
supply proof he was Zack's most loyal man. This was really getting scary now. I did not 
know how long I could stay undercover to compile more documentation. Strangely, I, 
too, was willing to die, but I was willing to die to protect my group and family. Were we 
going to have a final showdown? I still was not certain what the whole truth was. 

I had sold my gun and hunting rifles to raise money to live on long ago. I went to 
a trusted friend and borrowed money to buy a handgun, which I began to carry, concealed 
every day. I even taught my adult Sunday school class with it on me, with a round in the 



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chamber, ready to go. I was certain that if my execution had been ordered, I would die, 
but I would not do so without a fight. Those people were really scaring me. The deeper 
the roots of evil seemed to extend, the more determined I was to expose it! (Yes, as 
completely bizarre and irrational as this seems, part of me felt we could still make all this 
right.) How did this happen? We just got in a business to develop a secondary income. 
Now our lives were becoming a horror movie. 

Kathy was not filled with a sense of peace, seeing me strap on a loaded gun every 
day. I carried it so the kids were not aware of it. The poor little guys still thought we were 
going Diamond. Part of me did too. Somehow, a part of me felt that I would be the one to 
resolve this and be a hero to my group and ultimately find favor with Zack for doing so. 
Deep down, he must be good and just got off track. This was egotistical, delusional, and 
fed my savior complex, but I could not reason it out. My thought process was now so 
convoluted that I frequently forgot to eat for an entire day. I often finished my Internet 
research at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. and collapsed, still fully dressed, on my side of the bed. 

We made arrangements to attend what would ultimately be our final Dream 
Weekend seminar in Baltimore, Maryland. We went a day early for the Emerald and 
Diamond meeting that preceded the arrival of thousands of distributors the next day. As 
usual, it was held in a luxury hotel, and Zack and Molly had an opulent suite. I knew that 
I would garner strong documentation at the Emerald/Diamond and Directs' meeting, as 
this was where the leaders seemed to let their guard down. Our efforts were rewarded, as 
I gathered very specific evidence from these meetings. 

Zack knew that I had been on the Internet and was probably a little fearful that 
others had done the same. He also knew that distributors or prospects might come to any 
one of us with questions, so he talked about the Amway company and billionaire 
founders Rich DeVos and Jay VanAndel, specifically. He once again explained to us that 
they knew almost nothing about building The Business, as they had not sponsored anyone 
in nearly thirty years. The field built The Business, and they (Rich and Jay) really did not 
know how it happened. They were our suppliers and were very good at being suppliers. 
Zack continued to talk about the time that Rich DeVos really screwed The Business by 
sending out a tape called Directly Speaking to all the Directs. Zack shared how they 
realized after listening to that tape that it was a mistake, and he and Dexter knew how to 
build The Business and would continue to do so. 

I was probably the only person in the room that had any awareness as to what this 
meant. I had read the transcripts of this tape on the Internet. From what I remembered, 
Rich DeVos was, in essence, saying that the tool business was becoming an illegal 
pyramid and was never set up to be an income source. He seemed to be saying that the 
big kingpin distributors that were forcing the tool business on their downline were taking 
advantage of them. The tapes and seminars were supposed to support the building of a 
profitable Amway business. The contents of this transcript were incredibly damaging to 
both Amway and the Yager-based tool system. 

My psychological resources were nearly depleted, so at this point, I was only able 
to discern about ten percent of what I read. It would be quite a while before I could 
actually read and understand all of it. I was, however, shocked that Zack had just broken 
a Cardinal rule and repeated negative. The group of Emeralds and Diamonds nodded at 
everything he said as if it were gospel. Of course, no one questioned anything. Zack had 
spoken. 



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I received my standard assignment of managing the speakers and hosts back- 
stage. Kerry, as usual, was in charge of security. Yet again, he used my leaders for free 
labor the entire weekend. One ridiculous thing that Zack routinely did was charge $10 for 
an extra leadership meeting on Sunday. This was after distributors already had over $400 
in expenses into paying for what they thought was a full weekend seminar. Think about 
it. There were almost 2,000 distributors at this function. There seemed to be no end to the 
greed. Neither Kerry nor Zack knew that one of my Directs had secretly revealed to me 
that the security team collected, secretly counted, and moved large sums of cash collected 
for the leadership meetings. 

The weather the next day was extremely dangerous. There were snow and ice 
storms. A weather emergency was declared by the state, and people were advised to 
travel only if absolutely necessary. We had a Directs' meeting scheduled for early that 
afternoon. People were going to get hurt or even killed if they drove in this weather, 
because the major arteries to the city would become a sheet of ice. I was fearful for my 
leaders, as I knew all of them would get on the road to come to the seminar. They knew 
that a leader did not miss a leadership meeting, for any reason. There was no excuse. 
They could not afford not to look plugged into the system. I had a bad feeling about the 
whole situation. 

There were many accidents. Emeralds in our group, traveling with a Direct 
couple, were rear ended with such force that the windows were blown out of their 
vehicle, and their luggage was strewn across the road. There were some serious back 
injuries. When the Emerald went to the meeting, he sheepishly found me while looking 
for Zack. He seemed fearful, even though his wife was injured, because he showed up 
late. 



'It is certainly the opportunity of the century.' 

- Amway Crown Jody Victor' 



Jody Victor, It's Unbelievable, audiocassette Stock No. DBR 897 Copyright Unknown 



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CHAPTER 11 



Dream Makers 
and Heart Breakers 



"That's what we want to talk about tonight. Because I am 
pleased to be able to tell you that, once again, for the thirty- 
eighth straight year, the Amway business opportunity is the 
best business opportunity in the whole world, bar none. I 
don't say that with arrogance, I say that simply because it is 
true. And we work each and every day in Ada to keep it true." 

- Dick DeVos' 



The seminar for thousands of Amway distributors began with the familiar pattern 
of loud, patriotic and religious music, bright lights, music, prayer and speakers that go on 
until very late at night. It is hell on earth to now clearly see and partly understand the 
deception. I am physically sickened to be there. I have to continue my duties, running the 
back stage speaker area to not be found out. I think I am doing a fairly good job until 
Zack calls me over to where he is sitting. I go quickly to him, and he asks me how 
everything is going. I tell him how great things are and make the expected positive 
professions about the coming year. He seems to have accepted the answers, and I move 
back to my duties. 

Understand that Zack is incredibly perceptive. It is almost uncanny, but in a 
crowd of thousands, he could pick out the few 'problems'. I feel good to having kept my 
heart and thoughts concealed from him. This security is soon shattered as after about 
fifteen minutes, he beckons for me again. He just wanted to make certain that everything 
was OK with Kathy and I and that we were excited about the coming year. I again restate 
the appropriate positive confessions, with more enthusiasm. He seems to have bought it, 
but I am very nervous now. Sometimes it seems as if he could almost read your mind. 

In about twenty minutes he calls me to his side again, and I feel myself beginning 
to sweat. He makes a critical mistake. He had taught us how to 'reach' people using 
touch, emotion and speaking softly. I have video of him teaching our leaders these 
techniques on his Island. He pulls me within inches of his face and puts his hand on my 
shoulder gently. He lowers his voice and softly tells me how much he and Molly love us 
and think about Kathy and I. He advises that they talk about us often, love us and know 
that this is our year. After nearly ten years in business, he does not even know the names 
of our children. He looked me directly in the eyes as he said this. He also used nearly 
every technique he had taught us. He used them in a way that he had taught us to work 



' Dick DeVos, Guest Speakers, Audiotape Stock No. FED 97-9 Copyright Internet Services Corporation 



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specifically for my personality type. It was so obvious what he was doing. I had been off 
tapes for almost two months and could now think. This was evil. 

To use these techniques, looking someone directly in the eye and tell them you 
love them just to keep problems to a minimum is pure evil. I saw pure, raw evil in his 
eyes. It was a darkness that scared me. The rage exploded inside me, as I thought about 
how badly I could hurt him before his loyal security team took me down. I wanted to tear 
him to pieces. I trusted my family and all I loved to him. I had, for nearly a decade, 
looked to him as a father and sought his approval. Now he was attempting to manipulate 
my loyalty and emotions in a damage control effort. 

I tell him how much I appreciate him and Molly and agree that this is our 
"Diamond year." He knows there is a problem, but he has no idea how large it just 
became. He later gets on stage to a convulsive standing ovation and goes through the 
same God, Love, Country and success talks that I now knew by heart. It is revolting to 
see all the new people there becoming freshly seduced. There is a pre-dinner break, and 
Kathy and I go back to our room. As soon as we close the door to our room, I tell Kathy 
about my encounter with Zack. This is like a terrible movie we are trapped in, playing 
roles we would have never chosen. We change into our tuxedo and gown and go to a 
brief reception with Zack, Molly, the speakers, Diamonds and other Emeralds. After 
about fifteen minutes, we are brought to a staging area for the Emerald and Diamond 
procession. 

This was typically an emotional highlight of the day for most distributors. A path 
is made near the center of the dinner tables of the crowd of thousands present. The music 
starts and a blinding spotlight flashes our way. Each Emerald and Diamond couple is 
announced, one at a time, and walks through the wildly cheering crows to the sound 
tracks of triumphant themes like Rocky. It is our turn, for the last time ever, to walk the 
procession. I am sickened to be there. Ten percent of the whole group there are from our 
organization and are our family. We love these people with all that we are. Our hearts 
pound as the announcer's booming voice calls us by name, and the crowd cheers. We 
walk into the bright light and flash pictures go off, as we move toward the front to our 
reserved table. People are reaching out and touching us and giving us high fives. We 
used to be so proud that God was using us to give people hope. We cannot do this much 
longer. It is killing us. 

We make small talk with the other Emeralds and just try to get through the meal. 
My mind is racing. I am so angry and hurt at the same time. There is no one on earth that 
would like to have discovered all this less than me. I had wanted so much to be wrong. 
Zack and Molly are right by us at the next table. At the end of the meal, a distributor 
brings a new couple up to meet Zack and Molly. The young couple is polite and very 
excited. Zack works them well... long, firm handshake, encouraging smile, compliments, 
good eye contact, warm conversation, edification of the upline and talk of the business 
never being better. He's got them. They were Kathy and I almost ten years ago. This 
cannot be allowed to go on. The young couple is on cloud nine but would be trembling 
with fear if they had any idea of the destruction that may slowly overtake nearly every 
aspect of their life, finances and marriage. The happy sheep walk, thankfully, further into 
the pen, not seeing the bloody axe behind the bible in the smiling butcher's hand. 

Kathy and I are now nearly paralyzed by what we clearly see going on around us. 
We're off tapes and the psychological fog is lifting to a certain extent. The night session 
seems to go on for days, as the sweet poison is spread to the hungry flock. My mind is 
racing, as my heartbeat increases until I can hardly catch my breath. I have to stay cool 



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and do my duty backstage to not blow my cover. I avoid Zack and make it through the 
night without further contact. It is past midnight when the group is dismissed. They are 
exhausted but motivated. We go to our room and change quickly into more casual clothes 
for the late night-early morning training session with Zack, Molly and the visiting 
Amway Diamond speakers. We arrive with a group of Emeralds and Diamonds and fade 
to the back of the room. 

As I was someone that handled the speakers from the time they landed at the 
airport until they hit the stage, I know that Zack often gives them specific topics to cover. 
He is incredibly detail oriented and at times would even tell the speaker what analogies to 
use to make a point. Given this, I know that the Diamond he has in to speak to us has 
probably been coached, as nothing happens by accident with Zack. Zack builds up the 
visiting Diamond and admonishes all of us to take notes. The Diamond starts talking and 
tells us how much respect he has for Zack and Molly. They were his inspiration years 
ago, and we need to know how fortunate we are... God Bless America.... and 
nauseum. . . .blah blah blah. . . 

He ran through the required, typical, mutual admiration society points and then 
got on to his topic. Out of the blue, he launched into the topic of total loyalty. He said the 
people that made the most money in his group are the one's who question nothing. The 
distributors who question upline always seem to have a problem that holds them back. 
Perfect loyalty breeds perfect duplication. The leaders are all taking notes zealously, as 
Zack can see everyone in this small room. Zack leans back in his chair, arms behind his 
head, and smiles in knowing agreement. This is scary. The one who questions nothing 
makes the most? Is Jim Jones going to come in here and serve us all a refreshing fruit- 
aide drink soon? As the topic progressed, the Zombies we were surrounded by took more 
and more notes. 

I was shocked that so many bright, articulate people in the room accepted total 
and complete submission to the upline. They were very sharp people! It took 
extraordinary effort and skill to motivate them to the Emerald or Diamond level. None of 
them saw a problem. It just did not make sense to me. The people who succeeded the 
most were the ones who questioned nothing? What happened to the work ethic? I was 
brought into this business, because it was based upon serving others and getting paid for 
your effort. Now, it seemed as if service to others in the group and the incredible amount 
of time put into The Business was not as relevant as the fact of becoming a mindless, 
unquestioning drone. Of course, this exposure was only to a small group of Emeralds and 
Diamonds. None of the thousands of participants at the Dream Weekend seminar were 
even vaguely aware of what was expected of their leaders. The poison was sold to them 
in small, carefully packaged, bite-size chunks. 

The analogy used to describe why information was only revealed in gradual 
stages to distributors was 'you don't feed steak to a baby.' That was why we were 
instructed never to give a Dexter Yager tape to a brand new person. They would not be 
able to handle it. We needed to teach them, through the system, how to think and reason 
properly, and then they could understand his message. Most people, we were advised, 
just did not understand success principles, and Dexter had a hard time coming down to 
their level. We needed to raise them to a level of entrepreneurial thinking where they 
could begin to understand him. 

I remember thinking he was a real 'nut case' when we first got started. After a 
while, his mannerisms and personality motivated me, because if he could actually be 'off 
the wall' and still be incredibly successful in Amway, so could I. 



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Normally, a few people would quit after he came in for a seminar and began 
blasting Democrats, gays, atheists, lazy distributors, socialists, Jesse Jackson, or whoever 
else came up in his never-ending, stream-of-consciousness talks. At one seminar, I 
remember thinking that he had mellowed out a little. The same day, he announced from 
stage that long-term distributors thought that he was changing and seemed a little more 
relaxed. He further explained that he was the same, but we had changed our thinking 
from being around him and the system. (I had no idea how right he was.) At the time, I 
thought it was a very good sign that I was 'in sync' with leadership. 

The typical analogies used to force compliance were as follows: How hard would 
it be for us to build a group with a leader that constantly questioned us? Did God want us 
to work in harmony and serve His people, or to fight over ego and turf? How would we 
handle one of our own children if he or she constantly questioned us? If upline had a 
choice to invest time in you or in another distributor, wouldn't he be smarter to put the 
time where it would be best used and not questioned? Would he be a good steward if he 
wasted his time and talents in your group, when there were more loyal, unquestioning 
leaders that could make better use of it? Upline only wanted to see your success and 
could be trusted. They only won if they helped you to win. It was business suicide to 
contradict your upline. You reaped what you sowed. If you wanted to reap trust and 
loyalty in your own organization, you first sowed it upline. 

The Emerald "don't question anything" meeting dismissed after 1 a.m., and Kathy 
and I went back to our room in a tired fog that was typical of these seminars. We were 
thankful we had finally been released from the meeting. We were far too tired to talk or 
even think about what we had heard. We just wanted to get out of our clothes and 
collapse on the bed. We had to be up in a very short time and dressed formally for the 
Sunday worship service. It was a Christian, non-denominational service, and all 
distributors were strongly encouraged to attend each of these major seminars. 

Many had accepted the Lord or recommitted their lives to Him at these services, 
as I had. We had seen quite a few people in our group, even whole families, commit their 
lives and business to God. The worship service became very emotional, moving many to 
tears. The lack of sleep had a lot to do with this response, but the message that morning 
was still a powerful and moving one. 

Attending the services was something that previously had convinced me I was 
doing something worthy with my life. Now, the sight sickened me. I could see that a 
personal relationship with God was used by slick leaders in what looked like a well- 
scripted, marketing tool. It seemed that the name of Jesus was spoken freely to bring 
credibility to something that had none. It also appeared that Christians were targeted for 
economic harvest with this superficial praise of God. I watched helplessly as the 
emotional and psychological anchors of deceit were being set within these people. When 
they thought about The Business, many felt a connection with God and commitment to 
family. Which of them would ever turn their back on God or their family and leave 'their' 
business? As I looked out over the crowd and spotted many of my dearest friends, I was 
overcome with grief. What had I done to these good people? They kept thanking me for 
giving them a chance. We had all been just like sheep. The butcher's knife was so sharp 
that none of us ever felt the cut. We all just plodded onward and were bled dry! I was torn 
inside, because I really wanted to gather more documentation, but I could not force 
myself to stay a minute longer. 

As I watched those trusting people being led to destruction, I broke down. I 
decided to leave four hours before the seminar ended on Sunday. I made up an excuse 



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about visiting one of our distributors who was in a hospital from one of the car accidents 
and left Keith to fill in for my duties back stage. Being there and knowing what was 
really going on was like being in hell itself. Kathy and I packed our clothes and literally 
ran to our car. We still were unable to communicate much. This isn't too surprising. We 
had worked hard for nearly ten years to eradicate all negative thought and speech. We 
knew that something was terribly wrong but were programmed not to verbalize our 
concern. The worst part was that we sensed an evil beyond description. Nearly everyone 
we loved was involved directly because of us. They were family. Our children knew them 
better than their own flesh and blood relatives. We were traumatized beyond description 
and unable to reason. 

A new twist was now put on the Amway business. We had all been warned never 
to go on the Internet, because it was a breeding ground for rumors and negative, 
unfounded information. It had no practical use for someone going Diamond and served 
no business purpose, we were told. Having been warned of this for years, we were then 
introduced to Quixtar, a completely 'new' company being launched on the Net. It 
sounded just like Amway, but an online, Internet version. We were informed that 
Amway was building a new business with IBM and Microsoft as partners. Distributors 
were told that Bill Gates was really excited when he saw The Business model and had to 
be part of it. 

Details of this new venture unfolded slowly. We were advised that the Quixtar 
Company was a Delaware Corporation and that it was separate and distinct from the 
Amway Corporation. It sounded as if the stock was held privately by the DeVos and 
VanAndel family members. The new business model was high tech and would bring in 
even more sophisticated professionals. Instead of dancing around the dreaded "A" word, 
distributors would be able to truthfully say, "Honest, it's not Amway." The Quixtar 
company was to have the same marketing and compensation plan as the Amway 
corporation. It sounded as if the only difference would be in the name and the fact that 
distributors would be able to order their products online. I found this to be ironic, as I had 
been admonished for wasting time online, as I watched the web develop. This had 
potential, but it looked like the same exact deal with a PC and a new name. 

We had seen Amway disguised as Home Shopping Delivered, Networking, 
Network Marketing, New Business Development, Yager Enterprises, Walters 
International and many others. This just seemed like the misdirection dujour, despite the 
Quixtar hype. 

Out of desperation, I began to put my resume together. I felt like such a loser. I 
had let Kathy down, our children, our parents and all who had trusted me by getting into 
Amway. Countless people have told us they would never have joined Amway if they had 
not completely trusted us. 

Quixtar would not change their lives. It would probably be used to extract even 
greater amounts of money from our people. I was so tormented and felt as if their blood 
was covering me. It was no longer just on my hands. I was immersed in it. I looked at all 
the pictures of these wonderful people and their children on our refrigerator. To this day, 
the pictures still hang there, because one never gives up on family. I was grief stricken. 
We were near bankruptcy. We could not keep up with all the credit card and mortgage 
payments. We had gone from being completely out of debt, except for a single mortgage 
payment, to having multiple mortgages. In addition to our mortgages, we were over 
$100,000 in debt to friends, family, and credit card companies. 

How on earth did this happen? My auditing experience and natural talent for 



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numbers and finances should have kept us safe. We had sold all our rental properties as 
directed. We sold everything we owned of value except our cars, home, and wedding 
rings. We had no investments left, no retirement account and no equity in anything. It 
was horrible, but we were still being lauded as being at the pinnacle of success. We were 
still chosen to do seminars by an upline that knew we were totally destitute. We were just 
a drawing card for them. We had been systematically betrayed and had ourselves 
unwittingly betrayed friends, bringing them into The Business to help them prosper. The 
truth now looked like we were just used as unknowing dupes to extract millions of dollars 
of book, tape, and seminar money from honest, trusting people who wanted to improve 
their own finances. We had unknowingly been used to rape the very people that had been 
entrusted to us. You will never know how many times I pleaded with God and cried out, 
"Oh Lord, don't let this be true." I had been a collection agent used to rob the people that 
I loved the most. I had lost everything, while stealing from good people to make my 
upline wealthy. I felt as though I were drenched in slime. The nightmares became so 
chronic, so real and so terrifying that I tried not to sleep. 



Life with Papa 

In every one of my nightmares, either Kathy, the kids, or I ended up dying an 
agonizing death in one no-way-out scenario after another. I woke up again and again 
hyperventilating and clutching my chest. I was often fearful that I was going to have a 
heart attack from the 24-hour-a-day stress. I attempted not to sleep, believing I could 
learn to live without rest. I made it almost three days and then collapsed fully dressed in a 
heap on my bed. I was losing weight, eating only sporadically. I thought back to the 
conversation I had had with the Amway Diamond (the one with the Mac 10 sub-machine 
gun). I was fearful that I would be killed if anyone found out, but I could not stop 
documenting the evidence of our betrayal. I strapped on a loaded gun everyday. I wore it 
so often that I would often forget I had it on my person. I attended our local church and 
Sunday school with it concealed. It became like clothing to me. I was a living 
contradiction, teaching in Sunday school about faith and trust in God, but having a loaded 
9MM hand gun strapped to me at all times. I was a complete fraud. I had lost everything, 
including my faith. 

I spent almost all my waking hours on the computer, despite the pain of what I 
was learning. There were many lawsuits against Amway and its highest-level distributors. 
Most of the complaints were over the same issues I had discovered myself. The more 
information I unearthed, the more I felt myself slipping from sanity. 

The stress of battling all the years of training and indoctrination was so great it 
felt as if there was a freight train running through my head. I could not concentrate or 
even make the simplest decisions. I would spend over an hour reading our junk mail, but 
couldn't remember a word I had read. Kathy and the kids had to repeat things two and 
three times for me to hear and understand. Because I was fighting to survive an enormous 
battle 24 hours a day, my goal shrank to just making it through one day at a time. We 
rarely had alcohol in the house, but I finally went out and bought beer and drank late at 
night to try to knock myself out. The haunting nightmares were more powerful than the 
numbing of the alcohol. I was a captive of my own mind; feeling so many raging 
emotions at once, it seemed as if I would explode. The pressure was so great it felt as if 
my head was going to burst off my shoulders. Sometimes, I actually wished it had 



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exploded. I truly believed (at that time) that death would have been a sweet release from 
the unending guilt and torment. It felt as if I had been flung from a plane and was 
plummeting to earth without a parachute — but I never impacted. The drop was endless. I 
was in a state of utter terror all the time, and there was no rest. I believed that I was 
worthless. I had failed everyone that I knew and loved. I wanted to be a good husband, 
father, and leader. I was none of those. I had brought shame and dishonor to all who 
knew and trusted me. Since we had had a suicide in the family, I knew, firsthand, what 
the survivors had to deal with. So I would never do that to Kathy, the kids, or my family, 
but it did not stop me from wishing that I could kill myself without hurting them. 

I was panic stricken almost constantly without knowing why. I felt as if I were no 
longer in control of my mind, thoughts, emotions, or actions. Having been an up-lifter 
and motivator for years, I was shocked at the darkness of what appeared to be my own 
thoughts. It was as if I was a machine that had been mis- wired, because I knew that I was 
not responding appropriately. I had never been an angry person, but I developed a rage 
that burned constantly just beneath the surface. I felt like a walking time bomb. 

If the kids made too much noise at dinner, I verbally lashed out at them with no 
warning. I did not even know the anger was coming until it was there. The children were 
repeatedly reduced to tears, and Kathy watched me sadly, as I became a monster in our 
home. As soon as I reacted, I knew it was wrong and felt terrible, but I could not stop or 
control the anger. I normally left the room and cried quietly, as I wondered how to kill 
the beast inside of me. There was something evil in me. It was part of me. How would I 
kill the monster that lived inside of me when I was the monster? At times, I was 
completely numb, but when I was not numb, rage was the only feeling I experienced. I 
did not know who or what I was becoming. I did not know if the thoughts I had were my 
own or the result of thousands of hours of tapes and seminars. Who was in charge here? 

I was so fearful of the night demons that overtook me while I slept that I decided 
to buy some rum to numb the night terrors. I drank it one night with Coca-Cola so that 
the caffeine would keep me awake as long as possible. When I found myself hiding the 
bottle, I realized that it was a problem. I knew intellectually that I was showing the same 
addictive behaviors as other people with drinking problems. I confided in a good friend 
and mentor in our church. I told him what I had just done and said that I would give the 
almost full bottle of rum to someone else, just to get it out of the house. Instead, he 
recommended I dump it down the sink immediately. I did exactly that, and it felt good. I 
still had no idea how to beat the terror of the night. I could not bear to witness another 
scenario in my nightmares where Kathy or the kids were hurt or killed again! 

I felt as if I was in the backseat of a driverless car, careening down the road at 90 
miles an hour towards a concrete wall. I could not reach the steering wheel or the brake. I 
felt completely overcome with an irrational feeling of complete terror and was never 
rescued from it by a crash and the sweet release of death itself. I was unable to tell Kathy 
just how desperate I was, as she had always looked to me for strength. How could I tell 
the one who was counting on me that I was praying for death? Little did I know, it was 
very obvious to her that I was becoming a complete basket case. (We were not able to 
even speak of those times for over a year.). Sometimes the pressure was too great, and I 
took a beer and a cigar down to the swimming hole on our property. Here I sat for hours 
with a loaded gun, can of mace, a beer, and a cigar. / don 't even smoke. I would stare 
into the flowing water, while frenzied thoughts screamed through my mind. I felt like I 
was drowning in the blood of the people that I loved the most. Kathy never knew if I 
would return alive from these walks. 



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These times of growing incapacitation were in stark contrast to the intense 
concentration I could summon at other times. You see, I continued to attend multiple 
open meetings, training sessions, and seminars in order to document a very well- 
orchestrated pattern of fraudulent conduct. I believed that when I exposed everything, 
both Amway and Zack would attempt to explain what happened to us and members of 
our global organization as an isolated incident. That was far from the truth. I collected 
massive documentation that was going to enable me to prove my rising suspicions. The 
documentation I uncovered was revealing that there had been widespread, systematic 
misrepresentation involved in recruiting and training Amway distributors for over twenty 
years. Those responsible were wealthy, powerful and shrewd — I would be crushed like an 
insect without complete documentation. I would probably be destroyed even with the 
documentation. I fully realized that, as an individual, what I was doing was like stepping 
in front of a tractor-trailer, but I had no choice. Our business had been built upon the 
premise that the Amway business had been founded on and steeped in trust, integrity, 
respect, and honesty. The Amway business and its related system now appeared to be 
devoid of all of those qualities. I had to expose this, because I believed the character traits 
were ones we had to live by and not just talk about. I had no conception of the price we 
would pay for this decision. 



Second Verse? Same as the First! 

By March, I still felt that I needed more documentation. The pressure was 
escalating. I broke into tears, even in public, for no apparent reason. I would see a sad 
commercial on TV and start to cry. Being around our distributors and meticulously 
documenting what I knew to be true was hell itself. It was agonizing to repeat false, 
positive professions and motivational slogans to them. All of our Directs were expected 
to spend a small fortune to go to Arizona to another 'Go Diamond' seminar and listen to 
Dexter drone on about nothing. I could not, in good conscience, let this happen. My hand 
had been forced. Dreading the moment, I could not put the inevitable off any longer. I 
wrote a fifteen-page letter, complete with documentation, to send to all our leaders. 

This was agonizing, as it was like throwing acid on our friends and family. Please 
understand that I was the one who had taught them to trust Zack in all situations. I helped 
them internalize that set of beliefs. I had helped teach them there was no other way to be 
happy, succeed, or fulfill God's purpose in their lives other than through Amway. I had 
told some of their children how incredible it was going to be to go to Disneyland and see 
Hawaii when Mom and Dad went Diamond. They had watched me 'retire' when I was 
thirty. That had been one of many events that had encouraged them to dump thousands of 
dollars into the system year after year. I had helped sell them on being tough! I had 
encouraged them to take massive time away from their families for the short term in 
order to establish a lifetime of style forever. It was a complete hoax, and now in shame, I 
had to tell them what I had learned. 

I prepared a packet nearly a quarter inch thick with court cases, video and audio 
tape transcripts, and revelations of what happened behind closed doors at leadership 
meetings and in high-level counseling sessions. I revealed to our leaders the fraud of the 
tool income and the income/lifestyle representations made by the Diamonds. A partial 
transcript of a taped, private counseling session with Zack was included. On the tape, he 



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taught me, as a new up-and-coming leader, to cut off people that did not buy into the tool 
system. At the time, I believed the system was essential to success and, in fact, had a 
100% success rate — as "documented" by the opulent lifestyles of the Diamonds. None of 
us had any idea it was an income source for Zack. As a matter of fact, we were led to 
believe that on occasion he even lost money on some events, but invested for our sakes. 

I was still confused by the paradox of thoughts battling for control in my mind. 
Part of me now 'knew' that this had been a complete scam from the first day we were 
recruited. Another part of me also 'knew' that this was inherently a good business 
founded on solid Christian principles. In my mind, I felt that something went wrong with 
Dexter and Zack, but they could fix it. In sending out the letter, I was preparing for two 
diametrically opposed scenarios. They were in complete contradiction to one another. 
Part of me 'knew' that The Business was pure fraud and must be exposed to stop the 
harm being done to many good people globally. Another part of me 'knew' that the letter 
might put enough pressure on Zack to make everything right and honest. That was the 
reason that it was going only to my leaders. I could have mailed it to the entire 
organization. The part of me that still believed that that this business was salvageable, felt 
that the problems could all be resolved, and no one but the leaders would ever know what 
happened. As a leader, I had been conditioned to lead my people, and so I was still 
shielding the group from "negative." 

The stress reached a near eruption point, and I confided in a few close distributor 
friends what I had discovered. They were sickened by what they learned but also felt 
compassion for us and for the position we were in. We were approaching a Saturday that 
was our monthly seminar day in our city. There was no possible way we could attend. We 
were terrified at the thought of coming 'out of the closet.' Our absence would be reported 
within minutes to Zack. We were destitute and being eaten alive by the stress. Don, an 
anesthesiologist in our organization, agreed to mail the many packages out for us and 
paid for us to spend the weekend in Washington, D.C. at Embassy Suites. We needed to 
remove ourselves from this boiling cauldron. The Arizona trip was coming up soon, and 
the exposure had to happen quickly. My hand had been forced. The truth of the matter 
was that I was still unable to make the decision to quit The Business. After the thousands 
of tapes I had listened to, it was almost impossible for me to believe that there could be 
life outside of Amway. 

I had confided in Don about the intense, psychological problems I was 
experiencing as well as the nightmares. It was very difficult for me, but I needed some 
relief or help to keep going. He prescribed Valium for me. They were real knockout pills, 
and I was grateful to be able to knock myself out for three or four hours on occasion. I 
had never taken any medication of this type in my life and felt emotionally weak to have 
to resort to medicine. Survival was more important than my pride, and right then I needed 
to survive. I used them sparingly, according to the directions, and only as a last resort. 

We left town. With the exceptions of Kathy's caesarian section and a wedding, 
we had never missed a single monthly seminar, leadership, training session, or open 
meeting in nearly ten years. We felt incredibly guilty, as our people were there. We drove 
to D.C. and checked into the hotel. Kathy and I were far from relaxed, but this was a 
welcome break from what we had been experiencing. The kids jumped and romped in the 
pool and hot tub. At least, they were having fun. 

Kathy and I agonized over the reaction that the group would have. The first call 



Not his real name. 



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came on Sunday. A distributor named Chip called, and I could tell that he was very 
upset. He wanted to know if I was okay, because something terrible had to have 
happened for us to miss a seminar. He told me that I could just hang up on him if the 
question was inappropriate. He knew questioning the upline about anything was 
forbidden. My mind raced as I agonized over what or how much to tell him. I asked him 
to come over to my house the next day but to tell no one. He and his wife were new 
distributors and had become good friends. 

Kathy agonized over the orders that night. All of our people called in their orders, 
and a concerned couple asked where we had been. We had a prepared story for them to 
hold them over until they got the package on Monday. No one really questioned us, of 
course, because we were upline. 

Chip showed up the next day and looked ashen. He knew that I didn't miss 
anything in The Business for any reason. I gently slid the packet we had sent to our 
leaders across the table to him. He was a large, powerful man but tears welled up in his 
eyes as he read the letter. He, too, was betting his family's future on this business. He and 
his wife, like most active distributors in our group, had lost thousands of dollars. 

He was too shocked to speak for quite some time. Being positive, I told him that I 
hoped that Zack would fix it all, and we would get right back on track. He was not 
convinced, but he had not been in the system that long either. I told him not to make any 
decisions until all the leaders had received the information, and we had a meeting with 
Zack. He told Kathy and me that he loved us and left in tears. He was obviously being 
torn apart by the same forces that were within me. 

We called the Emerald couple in our group and arranged for an early Monday 
morning meeting with them. We felt we owed them the highest advance notice, as they 
had been through many of the same battles and hurts with us. They both read the packets 
in silence and nodded in agreement with its contents as they read. We all felt scared and 
relieved. The four of us were terrified of Zack, by this point, but felt we could not 
continue any longer as things were. We had shielded them from most all of this 
information until now. They, too, had suffered the wrath of Zack as well as that of Kerry 
and Chris. Being good soldiers, they, too, had kept the very negative, hostile situations 
from their organization. We agreed to just hold our breath and wait and see what would 
happen. They made a strange comment when they left. They told us that they were going 
to pretend that they had no advance notice of this. It seemed a little odd, but it did not 
really matter to me. 

The phone began to ring off the hook, as our bewildered friends got their mail. 
For the next few days, the phone would ring the second we hung up from the previous 
caller. It was a cordless phone, and as soon as one battery would die, we would replace it 
with a newly charged one. We were on the phone nearly 10 hours straight each day. We 
began to set up face-to-face meetings with each caller at our house. One by one, they 
came over, and we answered all their questions. We told them, to their shock, that we had 
made only somewhere near $30,000 or less as Emeralds. They, too, had been told that 
Emeralds make over $100,000. Some were in such a state of disbelief that I had to show 
them all my tax returns. We discussed the fact that many of them were working day and 
night for years and were making a pittance for it. One silver Direct shared that he had 
shown a tax loss for his Amway business of $25,000 in only two years. He certainly 
believed what he was learning from our meeting. 

Most were shocked and stunned more than angry. They all agreed with most of 



Not his real name. 



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what we revealed to them but still looked generally confused. I knew that the Directs 
Kerry had recruited as his spies had faxed or hand delivered the packet directly to Kerry 
just as soon as they received it. Kerry, of course, would have immediately sent it on to 
Zack. Zack and Molly happened to be with Dexter in the Bahamas at the Atlantis hotel, 
enjoying one of the Amway lifestyle trips. They both had been sending out voice mails 

saying how great it was and that they loved us, we could do it, etc I was so used to the 

routine now, I knew exactly what Zack would say when he called. 

As if on cue, he called and was very friendly and spoke kindly to me. He said he 
had heard that I may have some concerns, and he was open to talking about anything. His 
focus was to help Kathy and me go Diamond, because he truly cared. I did not buy it! It 
felt as though I was talking to a venomous serpent. 

He acted as if he had not gotten the fax yet, but I felt certain that Kerry had 
forwarded it to him immediately. He kept trying to pry a conversation out of me, but I 
knew better than to let him get a toehold! I hung up on him. He called right back and 
spoke very kindly. I recognized his damage control movements immediately. This guy 
hadn't wanted to listen to or help me for almost ten years, and now that I may have 
exposed him for having spent the last 20 years defrauding honest people, he suddenly 
was my best friend. It was late at night, and we had yet another group of confused 
distributors in our kitchen, witnessing the call. He tried to force me into a conversation, 
but I told him that I was not willing to talk about anything until he had received the fax 
and read it. I told him I had all the documentation I needed on him. He told me that he 
loved Kathy and me and began to go on about how much he truly cared for us. I had had 
it. I have to admit that I did not act professionally, and I lost my temper. I cut him short 
and screamed into the phone that he was a 'lying sack of shit' before hanging up on him 
again. 

The distributors in our kitchen stared in a stunned silence. I had been their cool, 
calm leader that could solve any problem in a positive way. I was the guy that had 
convinced them that Zack was a godly servant, and now they heard me screaming 
obscenities at him. They were bewildered by what they were witnessing. The truth was 
beginning to look pretty ugly. But like me, they wanted reality to be totally different. 

This was the beginning of hell week for us. I knew the game plan and had seen 
how distributors had been 'erased' when they left The Business. I thought I knew exactly 
what Zack's plan would be. In the letter to our leaders, I advised them of Diamonds like 
Brig and Lita Hart that had been virtually erased from existence when the new Profiles of 
Success came out, omitting their picture and story. They, and other Diamonds, had been 
removed from the book. The long-term distributors had already been psychologically 
conditioned not to think about or even notice things like that. New distributors would 
never know the difference, as no one would speak negative to them. In the letter to our 
leaders, I told them about the meetings that were being planned to turn them around and 
erase Kathy and me. I even told them that members of their upline would treat them very 
kindly. I knew they would swoop in and act like their new best friends, feigning great 
concern for their futures. What I did not gauge correctly was the level of control upline 
still retained over my people's minds. 



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Everything's Fine in America... 

Kerry and Zack followed the playbook exactly as predicted. They arranged to 
have Zack do a conference call at Kerry's house for some of our Directs and another call 
at Emeralds Rick and Paula's for another group of leaders. I was not overly concerned; I 
had told my leaders exactly what to expect, and they were not stupid people. 

Kerry and Chris began meeting with all our leaders at regular intervals at their 
home. I was certain it was at Zack's direction, since Kerry did not even blow his nose 
without Zack's permission. Zack continued to call me from the Bahamas to try to turn me 
around as well. He now was realizing that he no longer was dealing with a mind-numbed, 
fearful underling that he could bully. He finally told me that he would give me anything I 
wanted: my own training sessions, someone other than Kerry hosting the seminars, etc. I 
was growing more distrustful, as the conversation progressed. The things he was 
promising were what I thought I had wanted. He said that I did not even have to work 
with him and could tie into another organization for support. I recognized the trap. 

He knew that we, as instructed, had promoted him as a near all-knowing leader, a 
backbone in the organization, and to go somewhere else would confuse and destroy the 
group. He sounded like he wanted to help, but I sensed he still had no sincere interest in 
doing the right thing. He was very shrewd, but his motive seemed only to be saving his 
own hide. I also sensed that he had confused a few of my leaders enough to turn them 
against me out of fear. I decided to test this. I agreed that Kathy and I would meet with 
Zack at his home on Friday, upon his return from the Bahamas. This was done to get him 
to stop calling me. I needed to buy some time to think clearly, as he was good at what he 
did: confusing and manipulating people. 

Rick, the emerald in our organization, called us the next morning to see where we 
stood on everything, and I let him know we were meeting with Zack on Friday. He told 
me that he felt we could work with this. We spoke of Zack and our mutual mistrust of 
him. He said that in the Bible, Daniel suffered under an evil ruler named Nebuchadnezzar 
and still helped thousands. He felt we could do that too. I could not submit my family or 
my friends to the rule of an evil leader, even for a test of some kind. But I did not tell him 
this, because I did not know if I could still trust him. He was asking too many probing 
questions that sounded like questions Zack would have asked. I decided to test him. I told 
him that all Zack had to say to resolve this was that he had misread the situation all these 
years and was sorry for not taking care of it. He just needed to acknowledge what the four 
of us had been telling him for years. My phone rang early the next morning, and it was 
Zack. The first thing he said was, "I am sorry for totally misreading the situation for all 
these years." 

I realized that Rick had sold out, reporting on me to Zack, while Zack would do or 
say anything to put the fire out. I said the right things to Zack only to appease him and let 
him believe we were still on board for the Friday meeting. 

You must understand that in my heart of hearts, I truly wanted to have the 
meeting. I wanted to witness a miracle and learn that he was honest and that all this had 
been a big mistake, and he could make it right. The little voice that had once been a 
whisper in my soul was now audible after months of not listening to any of the tapes. 

Over the phone, Zack acknowledged the problems and said he would fix 
everything, but I was still very uncomfortable. I did not trust him or my own ability to 
think things through yet. My head was spinning. He was kind and very amicable, not 
argumentative or combative about anything. I just wanted this to be a good, honest 



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business. He told me he loved us again. I decided to test him. Before he hung up, I asked 
him the names of our children. After nine years, he should have known their names. He 
had no idea what their names were. He apologized and said that he didn't ever remember 
me mentioning them by name. 

With all that, I dropped my guard. As incredible as it sounds, he managed to 
convince me that I could make Diamond in no time through Quixtar, and soon I would 
have no financial worries. He convinced me that we could be EDC (Executive Diamond) 
in two years and make a huge fortune and help many people. This, he advised was "better 
than the alternative." I did not tell Kathy much of this but agreed to go to the Friday 
meeting at Zack's mansion. He got me back "in". Despite moments of clarity, my mind 
could not understand the truth or reason clearly yet. 

Every one of our leaders was calling almost daily to find out what was going to 
happen. We finally got the phone to slow down a little, once we told them of the Friday 
meeting. Many kept coming over to see us in person after meeting with Kerry and Chris. 
Then a very strange phenomenon began to occur. The more we told them and the more 
documentation we provided, the more confused they became. The brainwashed glaze and 
perpetual 1,000-tape smile was gone. They had been replaced by tired looks of complete 
anxiety and fear. We could tell most of them had no idea what the truth was by that point. 
I could not understand what was happening! I had to figure it all out on my own. I had 
not had the luxury of having someone else doing all this research for me, trying to protect 
me. No one simply gave me over 50 pages of documentation to save my future. After 
meeting at Kerry and Chris's house, some of our closest friends began to grill us with 
really personal questions. We did not understand what was happening. Some asked 
strange questions and were evasive about why they were asking. Some became strangely 
silent when we asked them about the meetings with Kerry and Chris. We had nothing to 
hide, because we were telling the truth, but their embarrassed looks seemed to imply 
another kind of shame. 

While we were puzzled by this new response, I was more anxious and even 
fearful about Friday's meeting with Zack. I talked to a Direct Distributor in our 
organization who was a homicide detective in State College. He knew Zack well and 
advised me, as a friend and a police officer, that under no circumstances would he want 
us to meet with Zack alone at his house. That sounded like good advice. I called Terry, 
another Direct in our organization, a very successful businessman and CPA. We thought 
he would be a great mediator, and he had tremendous respect for Zack. He agreed to 
attend the meeting for the benefit of all. I sent Zack a voice mail and told him that Kathy 
and I would be glad to meet with him on Friday, but it would have to be at a public 
restaurant, and Terry would attend as a neutral third party. That should help avoid any 
confusion during our discussion, concerning keeping this business honest and free from 
abusive practices. 

In the meantime, Kathy and I dropped in on Don and his wife to thank them for 
sending us to D.C. I told him about our meeting scheduled for Friday and that we were 
resolving all the challenges. I explained to them that Quixtar was a whole new business 
and might not have the same emphasis on the tools. Don was normally a very calm, quiet 
man, but when I told him about Quixtar, he went ballistic on me, right there in his living 
room. He started jumping up and down, pounding his fists on his legs and yelling that 
these were the same people who had been lying to us and screwing us for years. He kept 
yelling, "It's the same people!!!!" again and again. His face was beet-red from yelling 
so loudly. We left quickly, surprised at how negative he had become. (Obviously, my 



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capacity to break free of the system- induced psychological coma was still impaired.) 

I got home from this scream-fest and checked my voice mail. As was normal, I 
had turned on my tape recorder and began to play and tape my messages. For a moment, I 
was actually relieved to hear that there was a message from Zack, but my life changed 
forever as he spoke. He told me that he did not want to take part in any meeting with any 
"witnesses" or anything that I would want to put together. No witnesses? Was this the 
Mafia, or what? It was over. In my heart, I now felt certain my former hero, mentor, and 
father figure was not a man of honor and integrity. With everything that was in me, I had 
wanted to be wrong. I had wanted to fix this for my friends. We had all believed that The 
Business was our future. We were going to succeed and impact the world in a positive 
way. Now, it was over. I felt deep regret for all of us. We had been an incredible team. 
Grief is the only word that I can use, and even that just barely touches the emotion that 
wrapped its icy fingers around my heart. The truth was now clear. 

The last few months had been some of the most profitable we ever had in terms of 
monthly gross income. Quixtar seemed to have some real potential, particularly with 
alleged "partners" like Microsoft and IBM. Zack had been verbally agreeing to give us 
the freedom to build our business; yet I knew, I was figuratively 'a dead man walking' 
for challenging him. I did not trust him at all. I could not submit myself or my family or 
my friends to a corrupt leadership. My only choice was to walk out and let go of our 
dreams. I knew that our exodus would destroy what Kathy and I had spent years to build. 
We soon would have to declare bankruptcy. Out of moral obligation, I was about 
to destroy my only income source. The costs would be high, but there were too many 
good people, looking to us for leadership, for us to think of ourselves. I knew that our 
organization would hear lies about Kathy and me, about why we left The Business. I 
prepared a letter that I faxed and mailed certified to Zack. I also read it to him on voice 
mail and sent a copy of the voice mail to all of our leaders. Below is the portion of the 
letter to Zack, explaining the true reason for our exodus from 'our' business. 

I am giving you formal notice by voice mail, fax and certified 
letter of my intent to go inactive in my Amway business. The reasons are 
many. The least of these reasons have to do with Kerry and Chris Johnson. 
After spending a great deal of time with you and your other leaders as an 
Emerald in your organization I have experienced (and documented) 
situations that I believe to be quite disturbing. I became part of your 
organization and Amway because I was sold on the fact that it was a 
business built and run on Christian principles. It appeared that loyalty, 
honesty, integrity and respect where the cornerstones on which this 
business was built and run. After a great deal of first hand experience, it 
appears to me that this organization and business may be almost totally 
devoid of all the above. There is no amount of real or "potential income" 
that would interest me in putting my family's future in the hands of 
Amway or your leadership. 

For years, our phone had rung almost non-stop with a flurry of activity from our 
friends in The Business. Soon after sending out the voice mail with the above message on 
it, our phone grew strangely silent. It would never again ring non-stop with news from 
our group. 

They were family, and we had been in constant communication with them. The 



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silence, at first, was a welcome relief from the frenzy of calls that we had experienced 
during the previous week. We had a few sporadic meetings with some of our leaders. 
Those meetings were strained and very uncomfortable. They tried to convince us that The 
Business wasn't all bad. There were some good things about it. Many were inordinately 
concerned, "What was everyone else going to do?" I found the constant questions 
regarding what everyone else was doing to be very odd. It appeared that the entire 
recruitment and training process was based upon complete misrepresentations of the 
truth. They began to argue with me as if I was a negative prospect, and they had just 
shown me the plan. I brought up the fact that they were making little or nothing after 
years of work and after dumping tens of thousands of dollars into their business. They 
robotically explained the principles of business ownership and investing. I recognized 
that thought process, because I had taught it to them. 

They did not believe much of what I had been telling them about our situation. In 
fact, they had been led to believe that Kathy and I just screwed up. Emeralds all made a 
lot of money, they told me. I showed them the tax returns again. They were blocking the 
information out, being unable to process it. I could not get them even to look at their own 
tax returns. The one distributor that was a Silver Direct told me that he had lost $25,000 
during the past two years. He had business savvy and managed some large businesses in 
our city. But he turned all the information around and explained to me that this loss 
actually had helped him, because he got somewhere near $6,000 in tax refunds, helping 
him to pay his debt down. 

What insanity! He was a sharp businessman, yet he was in such a zombie-like 
state that he was rationalizing the benefit of taking huge amounts of time away from his 
family and losing $25,000. His wife had confided in us the prior week that she had come 
home and found their son curled up in the fetal position, crying hysterically, because he 
had no friends. They had been so busy going nonstop, building their Amway business, 
that they had no time to take the kids anywhere to do things with their friends. She was 
overcome with grief and guilt for having abandoned them. That was last week, though. 
This week they were trying to sell ME on how wonderful life really was for them. I did 
not understand what was happening. 

We still communicated with most of our leaders. Zack had been calling me to the 
point where we felt that we were being harassed. I asked him to stop all direct 
communication with me and to run it through my local attorney. He still called twice in 
one night and would not identify himself to Kathy. We recorded the numbers from our 
caller ID for documentation. He called back a third time and was talking in a friendly 
manner, as though we were buddies. As was now usual, we had a distributor couple at 
our home who witnessed this. It was pathetic. I advised him that I would file harassment 
charges if he ever called again. He had let me know in a previous conversation that he 
sent a copy of my letter to his attorney. He was bluffing me. I had anticipated that Zack 
would react like that with bullying tactics. I told him that I was not intimidated by this 
saber rattling. 

I knew that he was not going to sue me for defamation of character or anything 
else. I knew he did not want to have any of this information going public. He would 
never jeopardize this rotten truth about The Business by having it become common 
knowledge. I told him that I was no longer fearful of him and to feel free to have his 
attorney file suit against us. He said that he had no intent of doing that and wasn't 
actually threatening but just wanted to inform us of his actions. He had sorely 
underestimated me if he thought I was about to go away quietly after what he had done to 



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us and to thousands of other innocent people. 

I heard less and less from our leaders in the next few days, only that Kerry, Chris 
and Larry were having a meeting with them at a local Quality Inn. I also heard that Zack 
had agreed to let Rick and Paula order and pick up directly from his office, so they would 
not have to deal with Kerry and Chris. Everyone was still strangely unsure as to what 
they were going to do. Confusion was rampant. I was certain that about 95% of them 
would just quit. It was a sorry thing, but somehow we would all rebuild our lives. Some 
distributors came over, and we talked about all our hopes and dreams being gone. I 
explained how finally these dreams could truly become possible. Now that we were out 
of Amway and were not being bled to death financially, we would have the time and 
resources to truly live our dreams and be with our families. Logically, I knew it was 
completely true. But in my heart and spirit, I did not believe any of it myself. It felt as if 
our lives were over. There seemed to be no hope. 

We continued meeting with our friends, who seemed to be more and more mixed 
up by what they were hearing and learning. At times, they almost sounded like robots, as 
they regurgitated the positive aspects of The Business. After about a week, I noticed one 
particular pattern. Three of our Direct distributors shared that The Business was good, 
because they had retired their wives with it. They stated this with complete sincerity. 

Look at each case. The first was the Ruby Direct, who was working nearly seven 
days a week now and had been in The Business nine years. He was making, by his own 
admission, around $4,000 a year and rarely saw his children. His wife had worked for the 
school district, where she had a solid job with benefits. The second was the Silver Direct, 
who just the previous week had shown me a loss of $25,000 in the last twenty-four 
months. His wife had been a teacher. The third was John, a Profit Sharing Direct, who 
worked at a concrete plant and had talked about having to go to his bank, because he was 
tens of thousands in debt. His Amway business was probably showing a huge annual loss. 

The important thing was that their wives were home and not submitting to another 
man. We had been thoroughly trained that it was a great embarrassment for a woman 
that was a Direct not to be a full-time mom. It was just expected. Even those without 
children were pressured to quit their jobs to help their husband build 'their' business. In 
retrospect, I can see the reason for this tactic. Without the wife's income, both were even 
more desperate to build a successful Amway business. After open meetings, the leaders 
would get up and state their current or past professions. The women were very proud to 
say that they were stay-at-home moms. The reduction in income and the increase in 
expenses were part of what sent some of them spiraling into massive debt. 'Freedom ' 
was all that mattered, and it gave the group the false belief that they would have a good 
income at the Direct level. This further perpetuated the whole cycle of deceptive 
recruitment. We certainly thought there was a lot of money in The Business, when we 
saw that women did not have jobs and most drove Cadillacs. It was all smoke and 
mirrors, at an enormous cost to those who believed it. 



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"The story of Amway is one of the greatest success stories of 
all time. In less than forty years, a small company in from 
Ada, Michigan - with one product and a handful of 
salespeople - has perfected and fine-tuned referral based 
marketing and built one of the most successful business 
enterprises in the history of commerce. Their network of 
Independent Business Owners encompasses 3 million people 
in eighty different countries and territories"* 

-Coy Barefoot 



Barefoot, Coy. The Quixtar Revolution, copyright 1999, p. 141 



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CHAPTER 12 



The Turning Tide 



"And all we have ever had in the business is our Amway 
income. We still do not have tool income. That might come as 
a surprise to some of you. But that's all we have is Amway 
income. But do you know why we have a big Amway income? 
It's because we took some of the principles from the Bible and 
we lived by them." 

- Amway Crown Ambassador Birdie Yager' 



We were home when the phone rang, and I was pleased to hear Bob Leatherman 
from Distributor Relations at Amway. He had always been pleasant with me. He 
explained that he had a gentleman named Dan Bailey on the line. His department was not 
revealed to me, but I assumed Dan was from Amway 's legal department and knew 
instinctively that he had been sent a copy of the packet. There was a certain relief in 
having them call, as I wanted to fill them in on the whole situation. I still wanted to 
believe that Amway was a good, honorable business that had been prostituted by people 
like Dexter Yager and Zack Walters. The founders were Christian billionaires. I felt sure 
they would be disgusted to learn what had happened to us, our group, and the entire 
Yager/Walters organizations globally. 

Dan and Bob seemed very professional and friendly. Initially, it was reassuring to 
speak with them. However, we hadn't been on the phone long, before they made a 
tactical error. They lied to me! They said that they had heard I had some concerns about 
the business, and they wanted to know why I would stop building the business after 
having achieved the Emerald level. I knew they had the letter in their hands. I had just 
mailed a copy of it directly to Bob Leatherman, but that copy couldn't have reached him 
yet. Zack or Kerry had to have faxed them a copy. I told them that they could expect a 
relatively thick packet of documentation from me shortly. They continued to prod me for 
information and tried to express some 'genuine concern' and wanted to help resolve any 
challenges we had with The Business. They had claimed to have no idea what the issues 
were and just wanted to get them out on the table. 

They pushed and probed me for information three or four times, which was too 
much like dealing with Zack. They appeared to be friendly and helpful and full of 
concern, yet they were lying to me. I knew that information this damning must have been 
forwarded to them immediately. I made it clear that I wanted no conversation with them 



' Birdie Yager, Birdie-Monday Afternoon Audiotape Stock No. GDL 96-28 Copyright Internet Services 
Corporation 



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regarding my exodus from The Business until they received and read my letter and 
supporting documentation. Finally, Dan admitted that he was looking at my letter. I 
immediately cut him off and asked if he was in another building on a conference call or 
in the same room with Bob. They admitted that they were in the same room, and I was 
infuriated. It was beyond comprehension that they had not read and discussed the 
revelations of my letter and the enclosed documentation at great length. Here was the 
same kind of deception that Zack had practiced on us. 

I flew into a rage. I could not believe they were pulling the same deceitful crap on 
me again. Bob acknowledged that he had read the letter and explained that they just 
wanted to give me the opportunity to state it in my own words. "I thought the letter was 
written in my own words, wasn't it?" Then they started the good cop/bad cop routine. 
Bob remained very friendly, and Dan stated that he was actually from the Rules and 
Business Conduct department and that I had violated several rules by sending this letter 
into our organization. Wait a minute, it was against the code of conduct to advise people 
that they were being defrauded? We played good cop/bad cop for a while, and I was 
amazed at how pathetic it was all becoming. They were using the same playbook that 
Zack liked to use. They appeared very kind and concerned but were trying to steer my 
decisions. We closed the conversation on a friendly note, but I was mentally and 
emotionally exhausted. It seemed my hope of integrity at some level of The Business was 
wearing very thin. 

The night came when Kerry and Chris were to have the meeting with all our 
leaders to erase us and explain away the letter. I had a Direct in attendance who took 
notes at the meeting for me. Kerry and Chris and their sponsor, Larry, ran the meeting. 
Larry was Chris's brother, the one who had shared how "everyone in our area carried a 
gun," after I complained about Kerry brandishing a gun. The meeting was completely out 
of character. 

Zack had always prided himself in personally solving challenges very quickly. 
He had taught us as leaders to put out a fire if we even saw a little smoke. He solved 
problems, particularly big ones, himself. Now he was sending those two? Perhaps he had 
wanted to distance himself from the liability and was sending them to slander us, so he 
could later say he was unaware of it. He had been calling Kerry, Keith, and Rick directly 
for the last couple of weeks. 

Larry and his wife had been in Amway for around twelve years and were Direct 
distributors. They might have had a net income of around $5,000 a year, maybe less, after 
over a decade of solid effort. Incredibly, Larry started the meeting by saying that no one 
knew why I had sent the letter. He said that stressed-out people do wild, irrational things 
and that I was a poor money manger. I had expected this and was not shocked by it. He 
went through the standard 'we love you and care for your best interest' type of 
propaganda and spoke of how honorable Kerry, Chris, Zack, and Molly were. Larry was 
one of the people I had on tape, from years ago, telling us that we would make $100,000 
a year as Emeralds. Now after we had quit our jobs, gone Emerald, and were destitute, we 
were bad money managers? There was a noticeable difference between the promised 
$100,000 and the under $30,000 income that we were actually making. Also, after over a 
decade in The Business, he had never come close to doing as 'well' as we had done; yet 
he was saying we screwed up. He was an airline pilot and had a nice home and car, and 
the group may have believed it came from his Amway "success". They were all making 



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nearly nothing in comparison to what they were promised; yet they all thought that they 
were the only ones who were not making what they expected. That's not so amazing, 
when you consider the effects of never being allowed to share negative comments or 
question the upline. People had no clue. 

Distributors were advised at the meeting that it was dangerous to allow Kathy and 
me to have any contact with their organization. That was incredible, considering the fact 
that we had been lifted up as heroes on stage for years. Now we were a dangerous threat. 
Those present were advised to send us cease and desist orders, stating that they would 
take legal action if we had any contact with them or any one in their group. We had built 
these groups with them. They were our friends. They were family. This was insanity. 
Distributors were told that the information I sent out was full of lies. Distributors were 
told that I was not a team player and just had it in for Kerry and Chris. That was never the 
issue! The Business was (and still is) built on intentional misrepresentations that have 
cost all of us dearly. 

Rick and Paula, though Emeralds, had been treated badly by Kerry and Chris, to 
the point where they had almost decided to quit. Rick had refused to work with them and 
now dealt with Zack directly to avoid any contact. He was asked to speak at the end of 
the meeting. He got up and told the group that he had no problem with Kerry and Chris 
and had not yet had the 'privilege' of working with them directly. Rick had been worked 
over by a master deceiver. In his response, I saw Zack's artful work at its best. 

Prior to this meeting, John had called Rick for Kerry, because they were not even 
on speaking terms. John was a Direct in our organization who was a very close friend of 
mine. We shared much more than the same name. I was advised later that John had been 
asked to call Rick to see if he was staying in The Business. He told Rick that when God 
was going to doing something good for His people, like Quixtar, Satan would use even a 
good couple (Kathy and I) to destroy it. They all needed to pray for or against us. That 
was pure Yager/Walters system, pseudo-Christian psychobabble. All who were for the 
business were good and of God, and all who were against came from the very bowels of 
hell. Now, I was one of Satan's handmaidens? I think not. That one was so ludicrous that 
it did not initially bother us that much. What was happening in the private meetings at 
Kerry and Chris's house and with Rick and Paula was far worse. We began to hear bits 
and pieces as our leaders were very confused and did not know whom to trust. Those bits 
and pieces would be the worst things we had heard thus far. 



The Pain of It All 

June, one of our Directs who was a very good friend, called to take Kathy out to 
lunch. It was a nice break for Kathy to get out for a while with another woman just to 
relax a little. I felt relieved that they were spending some time together. Kathy was gone 
for a couple of hours. When she came back, I went to the door to greet her and hear some 
good news for a change. She looked sick. I asked her if she had enjoyed herself, but she 
said nothing. She could not speak a single word. Instead, she walked into our bedroom 
and collapsed on the floor. She wept uncontrollably, and I was not able to console her. 
Leaning up against the bed, I just held her until she could speak. She just kept saying, 
"You won't believe what they are saying about us!" I sat there quietly thinking, what 



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could be that bad? I already knew that they were saying that I was poor money manager 
and did not accept wise counsel. I had anticipated that. Was there more? 

She finally was able to blurt out some of what she had been told. They were 
telling people that I was an alcoholic and drug addict, hiding this from the group during 
the past years. 

Even I was shocked beyond words with that rumor. How could anyone be saying 
those things to people who had known us intimately for almost ten years? How could our 
friends believe these things about us? Kerry also held up a sealed envelope in a meeting 
and said that the information it contained would only be revealed in court. He said that 
the documentation was about us and was so hideous that if people knew about it, they 
would never even be able to look at Kathy or me again. June said that none of it sounded 
true but that they did not know what else to believe. Kathy was crushed. Rob and June 
were two of our dearest, closest friends. How could people even repeat, let alone believe, 
that trash? Those people had been our closest friends and nearly constant companions for 
almost ten years. We were always in the public and almost never alone. I was working on 
The Business day and night. When on earth would I have had time to drink or do drugs? 

I immediately called Don, the doctor, and had him order a full drug screen for me 
at the hospital for documentation purposes. Within two hours of hearing the drug rumor, I 
was screened for all known drugs and had the results (which obviously were negative) 
sent directly to Don for safekeeping. I no longer felt safe even taking a prescribed 
medication for fear of rumor. Sadly, I gave the unused portion of my Valium prescription 
back to Don, who sealed and dated the vial for me. I could no longer even have the brief 
relief from nightmares that the pills had afforded me. Neither Kathy nor I were eating or 
sleeping well. In fact, we often went through the whole day without eating anything. The 
stress was mounting, as was the fear and anxiety in our lives. 

Another distributor, we'll call Dan, met with Kerry and was told that I had never 
worked for the Federal government as an auditor. They "knew" exactly when I graduated 
from college and all of my work history, and it was not possible according to Kerry. Dan 
was also advised that the tax returns I was showing people were falsified on my home 
computer. He was assured that you could print anything on a computer these days. He 
was told that I was very clever and could use my skills for both good and bad purposes. 
That was nonsense. Would I actually be making $100,000 a year and telling people that I 
only earned $30,000? Would I do that and then call it a fraud and quit just for the fun? 

It became more and more evident that what people were being told did not even 
have to make sense. The message I sent out in the package to our leaders was both 
accurate and valid. The court cases and transcripts from counseling sessions and videos 
were very real. They were factual evidence. The tactic being used by my upline became 
clear. If the message could not be destroyed, then the messenger would have to be. We 
had no conception of how far they would go to completely annihilate us. We had greatly 
underestimated who and what we were dealing with. 

Keith, the distributor whose wife had sent him a letter saying she couldn't live 
like a single mother anymore, announced that after going Ruby, and driving 40,000 miles 
in a year, he had a net income of somewhere between $4,000 and 5,000 a year. He had 
said he felt like a phony. Our children went to the same small Christian school, because 
neither of us now trusted the 'evils' of a public school system. I was the president of the 
Parent Teacher Fellowship for this school. 



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We had a fund-raiser after school one day when Keith approached me. He was 
obviously very upset. He pointed a finger in my face and told me that he had it on good 
authority that my letter was full of lies. His wife had repeated this to other cross line 
distributors in our group. I would later be informed that Zack broke his own cross lining 
cardinal rule and asked Rick to call Keith and tell him that the letter I sent was not true. 

I attempted to remind Keith of how unhappy he had claimed that he was feeling, 
and how he thought he'd be making more in a month than he makes a year by now. I 
brought up the fact that he almost never saw his wife and his children. He let me know, in 
no uncertain terms, that it was a lot better than having a job and being broke the rest of 
his life. He could not even see his own situation. He needed to get off the tapes, but there 
was no talking or reasoning with him. Nothing made sense. He was a middle-level 
insurance executive by profession, but he seemed unable to see the big picture. 

I spoke with Sally who also was a close friend and a Direct in our organization. 
She and her husband were being audited by the IRS and having deductions disallowed. In 
any event, she was kind but very concerned. She, too, had heard the rumor of my drug 
use and also that I had a gambling problem. They had gone Profit-Sharing Direct and had 
bought tens of thousands of dollars of vitamins to do it. They were no longer buying huge 
quantities of expensive vitamins but were running their business at a loss, like most of 
our group. I tried to tell her how little money even the high-level distributors were 
making. She was a very smart woman, but she simply could not grasp what I was telling 
her. She just kept saying over and over that they did not understand what we did with 'all 
the money.' I tried to explain that there never was 'all that money,' and that was the 
whole point, but it only made her more frustrated. We parted as friends, but I was 
growing increasingly concerned for those who still seemed to be very much ensnared in 
this trap. She and her husband, an eye surgeon, were very intelligent people. How could 
they not understand the simple truth? They were dear, dear friends. Was I not expressing 
myself well enough to be understood? 

We met with several more distributors at our house. None of them wanted to talk 
about their income, how much they were losing, or how little they were making. None of 
them wanted to talk about how much time they were away from their children, or the fact 
that nearly every weekend was now tied up with Amway business of one form or another. 
Most didn't want to talk about any specifics. They were very, very bewildered people. 

They tried to tell me how The Business was a good thing. They didn't want to 
give up their dreams. I really began to feel like I was losing my mind. It looked like many 
of those good people might actually be manipulated into staying in The Business to their 
own family's detriment. A growing torrent of conflicting thoughts whirled through my 
mind. 

Some were acting like they did not know what to believe about us. I had never 
used drugs and rarely even drank a beer in the last ten years. Now, some of our closest 
friends were drilling me with questions about 'my problems. ' We had made our lives an 
open book and shared information and documentation with everyone. We were willing to 
bare our souls to help these people understand the truth. Kathy struggled the most with 
this entire situation, because she is such an intensely private person. 

The woman who delivered our mail came to the door and asked us to sign for 
some mail. We did that several times over the next few days, as we received letters from 
most of our leaders. I did not understand. Even after all that was revealed to them, they 



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still believed that The Business was the only way for them to succeed and reach their 
dreams. This meant that I was a threat to their hopes and dreams for their families. 

The letters we received were all nearly identical cease-and-desist notices that 
threatened legal action if we had any future contact with them or anyone in their 
organizations. We were left questioning what 'have no contact' actually meant? This was 
our family. We had no other friends. How could they possibly have believed all the 
garbage that was being told about us? They knew us better than anyone. The slander was 
vile and disgusting, but, fortunately, we did not hear the worst of it until months later. 

Rick called. He and Kathy had always been close and related well to one another. 
Nevertheless, he advised her that neither she nor I were to have any contact with anyone 
in his organization. He and his wife were convinced we were trying to destroy their 
future. We were dumbfounded. He had been treated horrendously by both Zack and 
Kerry for years. They had gone Emerald, but their income was even less than ours. They 
were making near or under $20,000. He drove a Mercedes that he had purchased after 
going Emerald. 

After one counseling session with Zack, he told us that Zack had made him feel 
like a moron for buying the Mercedes, because they had not checked upline first and 
gotten permission. In any event, I asked him where his group thought the money came 
from for the car. He didn't have an answer. Here he was, with a pathetic income after 
having gone Emerald, and he was driving a Mercedes in order to perpetuate a false image 
of financial success in Amway. He told me that his group thought the money came from 
both his job and Amway. We both knew that it was a lie. 

Our verbal warning to have no further contact was then followed up with a 
registered letter of the same nature. We had done everything but bled to protect our team 
when they were getting mistreated. As a result of The Business, they had suffered intense 
personal challenges. Yet he was nasty to Kathy on the phone. Somehow, we had become 
the enemy. 

Remember Chip, the distributor who called me Sunday after the seminar when we 
did not show up? He was rather intrigued and initially amused when his sponsor and 
Kerry arranged to meet with him and his wife to explain away our exodus. Chip and his 
wife, Tina, accepted the invitation to meet with them but were fully aware of what was 
truly going on, because they had read the whole packet I had given them. Their entire 
upline thought they were in the dark and knew nothing of our exodus. They went to the 
meeting just to see how far people would go to cover this all up. They were relatively 
new distributors and had not been in the system long enough to be influenced yet, or so I 
thought. I was still a little nervous about the meeting, for their sake. 

What happened next is still shocking to me. Understand that Chip's sponsor got 
the packet in the initial mailing and was aware of the entire situation. Before the big 
meeting, Chip's upline led him to believe that I had cancer, and my trip to D.C. was to 
seek medical help at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

They arrived at the meeting and waited. Kerry drove up in his white Mercedes, 
fashionably late, and did his typical Zack Walters' imitation. He came in totally pumped 
up positive and talked about Quixtar and how much everyone was going to make. He told 
them that he was going to show them how to buy a laptop for The Business and pay for it 
in 90 days. I found all of that to be very interesting, because I knew that most active 
distributors in Kerry's group lost thousands of dollars every year, despite incredible 



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efforts. 

Zack must have coached Kerry very well. He cushioned his talk with a story 
about some "stupid distributor" who questioned Zack about why one Diamond was in the 
old profiles but not the new one. The Diamond had been 'erased.' He described how 
Zack handled it and told the distributor to ask only questions in the future that would 
benefit his business. The point of this oft repeated example was that you needed to mind 
your own business; if you were worrying about someone else's business, you would 
never succeed. The Business was perfect, but we just had to deal with people who were 
imperfect. The bottom line was, don't ask any questions about Kathy or me or anyone 
else. 

Kerry then went on to explain our exodus from Amway. He told Chip and Tina 
that Kathy and I had some very serious personal challenges we were working through, 
and our only request was that no one contact us. If they truly loved us, they would need to 
follow our request. Remember now, they had been told that I had cancer. They were then 
told that the very best thing they could do was to build The Business like never before, 
because Kathy and I were going to need the income. The best thing they could do for us 
was build The Business to Diamond, so we would open the Amagram one day and see all 
of their pictures. Under no circumstances were they to contact us. Our only request was 
for privacy. After lying directly to them, Kerry then looked them in the eye and told them 
that he loved Chip and Tina and that he was going to be the best friend they would ever 
have. 

Kerry was very lucky that he was not attacked and beaten unconscious at that 
moment. With personal fortitude, Chip and Tina never let on that they knew the truth. 
The next day they made it clear that they knew the entire situation, and their new 'best 
friends that loved them ' became quite nasty with them. 

I was shocked to hear the cancer story. How low could these people stoop? How 
could someone lie and then look them in the eye and tell them that they were loved? I 
could not help but wonder what the going price was for the selling of a soul. We were 
only hearing bits and pieces of what people were being told by our upline in the group. 
There seemed to be one wave after another of lies and deceit. We were shell shocked that 
many of our closest friends now viewed us as their enemies. I was growing more fearful 
for our safety. 

I realized that that the potential for physical harm was an ever-increasing 
possibility to my family and I. You see, I had helped this group of people believe that 
succeeding in Amway was the only single way to achieve happiness, success, and God's 
will in their lives. Now I stood between them and their goals. I was in a very dangerous 
place. I really did not know how far these people would go. There seemed to be no limit. 



The Paper Chase 

I began to do more research. Actually, I was going over some of the nearly two- 
foot tall stacks of written documentation I had already accumulated but with a difference. 
Now I was able to understand and accept it. I found out that Amway had committed and 
was found guilty of fraud in one of the largest cases in Canadian history. Colin Grant, a 
professor of religious studies, made the following observations of this situation. 



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The denouement of the Amway integrity-success story was 
reached in 1983, when an Ontario Supreme Court Chief Justice fined 
Amway 25 million dollars, "the largest sum that a Canadian court has ever 
levied and one of the heaviest criminal penalties ever imposed against any 
corporation in the world" ["Amway Cracks — And Pays," Macleans, 
11/21/83] for evasions of customs duties. Behind this conviction lay an 
elaborate scheme of dummy invoices, and even a dummy corporation, 
designed to underprice Amway products shipment into Canada. 

...There is no doubt that the President and chief executive officer 
of Amway were deeply involved in these developments. This is indicated 
not only by the magnitude of the operation, but by the nature of the 
corporation. 1 



Grant goes on to state the following: 

The conviction for defrauding Canadian Customs was handed 
down in 1983. The book Believe! in which DeVos give the enthusiastic 
endorsement of integrity in business and of the unavoidability of ethical 
claims quoted above, was published in 1975. But this book was reissued in 
a new "New Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition" in 1985, without any 
reference to the Canadian Customs conviction. How can the president of a 
company, which holds the distinction of having been fined "the largest 
sum that a Canadian court ever levied and one of the heaviest criminal 
penalties ever imposed against any corporation in the world" reissue a 
book two years later insisting on the indispensability of honesty in 
business, without acknowledging his own complicity in such blatant 
dishonesty? 

The most obvious explanation is that this was possible because of 
the foreignness of Canada, that is, because of the lack of awareness of, and 
interest in, what happens in Canada on the part of the American media and 
people.... It would be difficult to imagine his reissuing of his paean to 
honesty and integrity in business, if the conviction to which his company 
was subject had been imposed by an American court. 

For a corporation to compromise ethical principles is by no means 
unique, or even surprising. But when the president of a corporation which 
has been subject to one of the largest criminal penalties in history reissues 
a book insisting on the indispensability of ethical integrity in business, 
without acknowledging that crime, this confirms the worst barbs of cynics 
about the antiethical nature of business and ethics. For not only does such 
profession ring hollow in the light of the unacknowledged violation of 
these very principles in practice, but that failure of acknowledgement 



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inevitably appears to confirm the suspicion that ethical profession is being 
used as window dressing in the interests of power and profit. 2 

What about full adequate disclosure? Why were Amway prospects never advised 
that the company was investigated and fined for fraud? This was unconscionable. 



It's Time to Sling More Mud 

"You grow... or you quit... and starve the rest of your life. 
What's the alternative?" 

- Birdie Yager' 

In one of Zack's last calls, he assured me that I could sell my business and that it 
was worth "a lot." I had no interest in selling it to him or anyone else. Dan Bailey also 
felt a great need to remind me that I could sell my business to a member of my upline. I 
told him that I simply wasn't interested. Although we needed money desperately, I knew 
that if I sold it and then exposed Amway and its motivational organizations as corrupt, I 
would be held liable for damages to The Business. Zack loved contracts and had once 
told us that even his warehouse employees had to read and sign every page of a 20-plus- 
page employment form. Now I understood why. It must have been a secrecy document. 
Despite the fact that I explained to Amway that I had no interest or intent of ever selling 
my business, they sent me a packet of information to calculate its value. That, too, was a 
pathetic joke. 

They calculated its worth as being several times the income of the Amway 
distributorship. That would value our business at around $75,000. That was for a business 
that the upline had used to cull millions of dollars in tool money. Even though Amway 
had been fully aware of the existence and abuses of the tool business, they still pretended 
to ignore its existence or worth to the upline. It was a good deal for Zack to buy my 
Amway business for near $75,000. The Amway business had an average monthly net 
income (for tax purposes) of near $2,100 a month. Yet the tape, book, and seminar 
income stream had brought Zack millions of dollars. Do you think he would sell his 
business for several times what his Amway income was? They were dodging the real 
issue, and I had no interest in blood money. 

I was fairly compliant but did not have many future contacts with Bob 
Leatherman at the distributor relations' level. He left Amway soon after all of this started. 
(I would like to believe that his conscience got the best of him, and he would not bow 
down to Amway.) Dan Bailey took over handling my case, as the head of Amway's 
Global Rules and Conduct Division. 

It soon became apparent to us that he headed up Amway's goon squad. This 
particular department seemed to be just as unethical and morally bankrupt as the upline 
from which we were attempting to escape. Dan told me that I had broken several rules of 
conduct and had jeopardized our distributorship. In a telephone conversation, he 



' Birdie Yager, Ladies Session Audiotape Stock No. GDL 95-23 Copyright Internet Services Corporation 



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explained how I had violated rule 102(d) of the rules of conduct by sending my packet of 
information to non-personally sponsored distributors. According to him, having contact 
with those people without permission was a violation of that rule. I was still predisposed 
to following authority and agreed not to have negative contact with distributors in depth. 

I had actually refused to give the packet to two distributors who had requested it. 
It dawned on me that Dexter, Zack, and all the Diamonds had contact with any and all 
distributors in depth almost daily. I found the rulebook and opened it to 102(d). I was 
surprised to learn it had nothing to do with what I had been told. Rule 102(d) prohibits 
contacting non-personally sponsored distributors for the purpose of soliciting them into 
another sales/business venture. Zack had told us that once upon a time, Dexter had 
contacted him and many other non-personally sponsored Diamonds and called them 
together for several investment deals, including a fast food chain called Dexter' s, a bank, 
and a travel agency. Zack's current Profiles of Success alleged that he was the primary 
shareholder for the largest travel agency in the country. 

I brought this to Amway's attention and was told that this interpretation was used 
to "extend support and protection to the personal businesses of Amway Distributors." In 
the same correspondence, he also advised that, 

Additionally, Rule 102(n) stipulated that: 

"An Amway Distributors must operate his or her distributorship in a 
financially responsible, solvent and business like manner." Sending a 
letter in depth and crossline disparaging your line of sponsorship could be 
considered in violation of this rule. Thank you for your continued 
cooperation with this issue." 

My interpretation of the rules was very different. We had never even heard of any 
of them, let alone their enforcement. It sounded to me like the rules were being twisted 
and formed to make problematic distributors go away quietly. Perhaps it had worked, and 
that was why it had gone on for so long. Informing our downline, and Amway, of 
possible widespread, systematic fraud was a violation of good business principles? This 
did not make sense, because I still thought that at its core, the Amway business was good. 

The facts that I would soon discover about the Amway Corporation and its 
billionaire founder Rich DeVos were worse than anything I could have imagined. 
Incredibly, at this point, I still wanted to believe that at some level, Amway was a good 
business founded and run by truly compassionate people. Perhaps this has to do with my 
having spent ten years of intense labor on its behalf. 

We received more bad news. Kathy and I were spending lots of time volunteering 
at the small Christian school where our children attended. The pastor, who was a good 
friend, called me to his office. His wife had taught all three of our children. He explained 
to me that he had gotten 'the call. ' At first, I did not know what he was talking about. But 
then I remembered that I had confided in him regarding the vicious slander that we were 
being subjected to on a daily basis. An anonymous caller had phoned the office and told 
them that I was involved in immoral activities and that I might be a danger to the 
children. Now I was a child molester? How far would they go to destroy us? I offered to 
step down as president of the Parent Teacher Fellowship, but he insisted I stay. Thank 



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God, someone still believed in me. 

Keith was a Direct in our group, and his children were still attending this school. I 
felt certain his wife made the call or put someone else up to it. I never could prove who 
had done such a vicious thing, and after a while, it really did not matter anyway. Pastor 
Dave and his wife knew us too well to be concerned about this unfounded rumor, so we 
continued serving the school. However, we were hurt that anyone could possibly say 
something so damaging about me. It seemed like people were trying to kill us with 
rumors. Our dignity, our friendships, and our life were slowly being extracted from us. 
No wonder they call it character assassination. 

Kathy had lunch with some of the women in one of our organizations. They were 
all undecided on The Business as yet, but they were still friendly with her. She needed 
this outing very much. Our home had become a pressure cooker, and it was a relief for 
her to get out for just a few hours. We both had become fearful to answer the telephone at 
times. We were reluctant to get the mail, as it brought so much pain in the form of cease- 
and-desist notices from our closest friends. How could anyone be afraid of his own 
mailbox? Kathy came home and seemed to be fine. Thank God, the lunch had gone well. 

The phone rang, and it was one of the women from the lunch, calling from her 
cell phone. Kathy talked briefly to her and turned pale. She was friendly but got off the 
phone quickly and walked to our bedroom in a daze. Something terrible had to have 
happened. I just held her in my arms, as she once again sobbed uncontrollably. She could 
not speak for quite some time. 

Our friend had not wanted to tell her in front of the rest of the luncheon group that 
a travel agent in our group had told her that Kathy and I were getting divorced. She also 
had heard that we were both suicidal, and people were concerned for our children. I had 
no words to comfort her, as tears flowed freely down my own cheeks. This was torture. 
The emotional pain was unending. 

A few days later, Kathy and I were alone in the house, and I was cleaning out my 
desk to stay busy. I found the three small booklets that my kids had put together for me 
when I was away on one of my many trips. They had misspelled titles like Why We are 
Going Dimond. They were each several pages long and included each child's precious 
dreams. I cried like a baby — not a silent cry. I cried like an infant, wailing loudly. Kathy 
came quickly to the room, but I couldn't speak. I just held up the booklets. All I could say 
over and over again was, "I am such a loser." I could not tell you how long I mourned 
and grieved over the entire situation. I know that we both faded into a state of emotional 
numbness just to survive. At that point in time, I did not know for certain if we would 
ever completely pull up from the downward spiral we both were experiencing. 

David and Goliath 

"You are God's anointed. You are God's anointed. When you 
are God's anointed, that 91 st Psalm applies to you. People 
will die on the left and they will die on the right and you can 
walk on the snake's head, you don't do it on purpose it just 
happens." 



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Dexter Yager' 

We were getting pressure from Amway to buy back books and tapes from people 
who quit, after I told them the truth. I did not think that Amway was in the tool business 
or in the business of making forced sales. I re-read the BSMAA that we were forced to 
sign. It stated that tools purchased in the previous 90 days could be returned for refund at 
a reasonable commercial value. I shared this with the people that had quit, so they could 
recoup a small fraction of the funds they had faithfully dumped into Zack's tool coffers. 

When they attempted to return them to Kerry, he refused them. He told everyone 
that I had to buy the tools back. Dan Bailey of Amway now seemed to be very much 
involved in a tool business that Amway pretended not to know about. He also told me 
that I would need to buy back the tapes that were being returned. I was completely 
destitute after nine years in Amway. I was more worried about feeding my children, 
keeping my mortgages current, and having medical insurance than buying Amway tapes 
that were of no value to me. Distributors were then told to file complaints with Amway 
Rules and Conduct against me. In a bloodthirsty feeding frenzy, they did exactly that. I 
had become the enemy, and somehow, they all believed that I had to be punished. 

These had been my closest and only friends. We had no other friends, and we had 
almost no social structure or interactions outside of Amway. It was as if we were falling 
into an endless black hole at an ever-increasing speed. I was sincerely concerned that our 
lives, mine particularly, might be in danger. Zack and my leaders were aware of my 
intent to go public from comments made in the initial packet that I had sent out. I had 
moved beyond playing a game of cat and mouse. It was more like Daniel in the lion's den 
or David and Goliath. 

I became increasingly fearful of Amway, Dexter, and Zack from information I 
was collecting and documenting. I earnestly believed there was enough money at stake 
for me to be permanently removed. Who was I, compared to five or six billion dollars a 
year in ongoing Amway revenues? The global tool business was conceivably generating a 
billion or more a year. 

We became afraid to go outside. We were even fearful of going shopping for 
groceries. We were totally overwhelmed at the grocery store. We did not know what to 
buy. We did not even know most of the brand names, after having been maniacally loyal 
to higher priced Amway products. We had been so well conditioned by Amway that we 
felt guilty doing essential shopping. It was an anxiety provoking experience that we 
endured again and again. What if a distributor in our group saw us? By now, they had 
been told that I had lost my mind. 

We did not know if they would look at us pityingly or spit on us. What if they saw 
us with a basket full of negative products? I had told them in seminar after seminar, "That 
is what broke people do." I carried a nagging thought, and I was afraid to tell Kathy that 
we might have to move far away to start a new life. I did not think we could live where 
we were much longer, but we did not have any money to leave. We could not believe that 
I went so quickly from being heralded as a hero and leader to being considered an 
alcoholic, lying, drug addicted, lunatic, gambling, adulterous, child molester. Yes, 
distributors were told that I was having an affair. What else would they think of? 



' Dexter Yager, Dex Tuesday Evening Part II., Audiotape Stock No. GDL 96-40 Copyright Internet 
Services Corporation 



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In my heart, I actually thought that I had become a loser. None of the above 
accusations were true, of course, but I felt like I was still a loser. The mental stress was 
beyond comprehension. I had brought many good people to the slaughter, and I was 
unable to save or protect them. I had thought I was helping them. Now, some of these 
families were tens of thousands of dollars in debt, gone night after night, and weekend 
after weekend. 



What a Tangled Web We Weave 

I began to contact attorneys across the country for appropriate legal 
representation. No matter what course of action I took from that point, I felt Amway 
would try to take me down with their enormous legal weight and political influence. My 
godfather was a West Coast attorney. He knew F. Lee Bailey and agreed to contact him 
for me, without mentioning my name. He did and called back to say that F. Lee was a 
personal friend of Rich DeVos and would not take the case. Wasn't that convenient! I 
contacted multiple offices of well-known attorneys across the country and began to 
understand why this had gone on for so long. Most wanted a $10,000 retainer and fees, 
as you went along. 

I contacted the attorneys of plaintiffs currently suing Amway. I spoke with some 
of the plaintiffs and agreed to testify for them. We shared some vital information, and I 
was very thankful to talk to people that understood. My search for appropriate legal 
representation was discouraging. I was flat broke and nearing bankruptcy. One plaintiff 
had almost $150,000 tied up in his case. It sounded as if their strategy was to tie people 
up so long that they just relented or went broke pursuing justice. The odds did not look 
good. Goliath was standing tall and grinning at me. 

The loaded gun that I wore every day did not give me peace. I could not go to the 
Attorney General's office in our state's capital city, because a high-ranking attorney in 
the building was an Amway Direct in Zack's group. Everyone was incredibly well 
informed and connected. I remembered Dexter talking about having, as part of his group, 
secret service agents that reported what happened in the White House. 

My sister-in-law worked for the local attorney general's office, and I explained 
my predicament to her. She arranged a meeting with an FBI agent, Lou Glodek. He was 
very friendly on the telephone and arranged to come over to see me at my home. I was 
only slightly relieved, as I prepared by sending him a system video and a good amount of 
overview type documentation. I also put together another stack of documentation 
approximately four inches thick. There was plenty of evidence, all right. 

I was terror stricken by what happened next. I was speaking with a current 
plaintiff against Amway and shared that I was going meet with an FBI agent. He said that 
there was a high-level FBI agent in the Philadelphia office who was an Amway 
distributor. He knew this because another plaintiff had attended the highly secretive, 
Yager Network Marketing Institute (YNMI), and the FBI agent had been his roommate. I 
was really scared now. Dexter had FBI agents too. This was spinning out of control. 

My nightmares began to increase in intensity. They began every night like 
clockwork right around 3:00 a.m.. I was powerless to stop them. I hated sleep, yet was 
absolutely, completely exhausted. I literally felt a weight on my head and shoulders, 



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almost as if I was carrying something that would eventually crush me. I had to resist. This 
had to stop. 

I tried not to panic when the FBI agent pulled up. There were two people, which 
was not part of the plan we had discussed. FBI agent Lou Glodek came to the door and 
rang the bell. He was low key and identified himself by showing me his Federal ID. He 
identified the man with him as, Wayne Samuelson, an Assistant U.S. Attorney. I was not 
comforted and actually felt uneasy, as I brought them down to my small office. My fear 
and growing paranoia were getting the best of me. We made small talk, and they both 
seemed like good guys. 

I asked Lou if the complaint I had filed stayed in his office or if it went to the 
Philadelphia office. He said it stayed local. I asked him if he knew the agent I had been 
told about in Philadelphia. He said that he did know him. I asked if he was aware of the 
fact that he was an active Amway distributor. He acknowledged that he knew that as 
well. He told me that the agent in question was not a high-level agent but a lower-level 
training agent that had recently retired. 

I was still fearful. I could no longer definitely identify the bad guys. This was not 
like an old western where the good guys wore white hats. Oh, how I wished it were! I 
provided Lou and the Assistant US Attorney with a large amount of information, which I 
asked them to return. They took it, but I never saw it again. Fortunately, I had developed 
multiple copies of everything, protected and stored offsite, in the event we were 
"burglarized." I had also done extensive legal research into pertinent court cases. Wayne 
seemed to perk up when I handed him large quantities of pertinent legal documentation, 
referencing precedent setting court decisions. They left with the documentation I had 
provided them and took with them my hope for justice to be served. 

The most pertinent came from a case called Webster vs. Omnitrition. This was a 
case that the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit received in September 1995 
and rendered a decision on March 4, 1996. The plaintiffs, Shaun Webster and Robert 
Ligon, were distributors of a company called Omnitrition that handled health and skin- 
care products. They alleged and made a claim that they were the victims of a pyramid 
scheme that emphasized remuneration through personal recruitment instead of retail 
product sales. 

The court found in favor of Webster, but the reason why was vital to our situation. 
Some background information is necessary for the importance of this decision to be clear. 
In essence, Omnitrition's compensation plan may have been similar to Amway's. Many 
multi-level marketing plans took this approach, as it kept them low under the regulatory 
radar, so to speak. In 1979, the Federal Trade Commission decided that Amway 
Corporation might resemble a pyramid structure but that it did not fit the definition of an 
illegal pyramid scheme. One of the biggest reasons that the regulators ruled in favor of 
Amway in their 1979 decision was this: 

"Unlike pyramid companies, Amway and its distributors do not 
make money unless products are sold to consumers," the FTC said in its 
ruling. "The Amway Sales and Marketing plan is not a pyramid plan." 3 

An article in the Baton Rouge Advocate went on to describe the situation by 
saying this: 



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The FTC's 1979 decision found that Amway's own business plan 
passes legal muster because, among other things, it encourages retail 
product sales to consumers. In other words, the FTC said, the Amway plan 
has safeguards to keep distributors from making money just by buying 
products themselves and through sponsoring others to do the same, in 
endless chains. The FTC decision noted, for example, that one of 
Amway's rules "provides that distributors may not receive a performance 
bonus unless they prove a sale to each of 10 different retail customers 
during each month. 4 

This is very strange, as we were taught by Amway Diamonds to recruit people to 
buy things at 'wholesale' from their own business and to recruit others to do the same. 
We were taught to remain loyal to our product line with 100% self-use, which often 
resulted in the hyper-consumption of Amway products that were frequently far more 
expensive than what could be purchased locally. I was not sure if a single distributor, of 
the thousands our organization brought in, ever did 10 retail sales in a single month. 

Amway senior management as well as the Amway Diamonds were well aware of 
the fact that bonuses were being paid without the mandatory retail sales. We had met 
Larry Harper, a senior manager in Amway's Distributor Relations department. He 
acknowledged publicly in an interview that bonus checks were paid to distributors who 
had no retail sales. When asked if a distributor could get a bonus without having retail 
sales, Larry responded, "Yes, you can." 5 

Let's jump back to the Omnitrition ruling. The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court found 
against Omnitrition. One of the key elements for the decision was the fact that although 
Omnitrition's compensation plan was similar to Amway's, there was no real evidence of 
enforcement of the retail sales requirement. 

Amway distributors were often told that Amway's sales and marketing plan was 
the legal yardstick by which other multi-level marketing plans were judged. This gave a 
sense of credibility. As I read the court decision, I realized that Amway was flagrantly in 
violation of its own rules of conduct. If reviewed again with the same litmus test, the FTC 
would most likely find Amway to be an illegal pyramid scheme. 

Rich DeVos made comments relevant to this issue when discussing the closed 
nature of the tool business, in which books and tapes were sold only to members of the 
organization. When there was no sale to a consumer end user, he described this type of 
business as an "illegal business — in fact, it could be called a pyramid". 6 

From the information that I was uncovering and beginning to understand, it 
looked like Kathy and I, and perhaps millions of others had been recruited and induced to 
participate in not just one, but two illegal pyramid-type businesses. The first was the tool 
business that had no end user outside of the organization, and the second was the Amway 
business. From the FTC's decision, the Appeals Court decision, and Mr. DeVos' 
comments, it appeared that a multinational organization of distributors that had almost no 
retail sales was, in fact, an illegal pyramid. We would never have gotten started had we 
been told we were expected to sell Amway door to door. 

With Amway's full knowledge, recruitment exploded when this very important 
detail was left out of the recruiting and distributor training. Retailing to customers was 



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not emphasized as the primary method of building sales volume. Zack and his leaders 
taught us exactly the opposite. We were told to recruit by never saying the words 
"Amway," "products" or "selling." We were told to recruit others by stating that we 
were offering a wholesaling business, in which you bought things from yourself and 
taught others to do the same. It was a lot easier to recruit large numbers that way. I had a 
Diamond on tape actually saying that he "didn't sell stuff..." It was all beginning to fall 
into place. 

I finally got it! We were able to recruit large numbers and were taught to sell them 
on the system, because that was where the Diamonds secretly made nearly all their 
income. Almost everyone in our global business lost money for two reasons. 

• First, many were dumping thousands into mandatory purchases of 
books, tapes, and seminar tickets. They were mandatory if you wanted 
help from your knowledgeable and wise upline. 

Second, since we were taught specifically not to spend time retailing 
but instead recruiting, there was very little bonus money to create any 
sizeable net incomes. 

The sheer recruiting effort and self-use propelled Amway into the billions in 
annual revenues, at estimated retail, and the tool money made the Diamonds rich. We 
thought they were doing it in Amway. I would soon be enlightened beyond my wildest 
comprehension when I obtained the actual figures from a tax return and saw how little an 
Amway Diamond made from Amway. However, there were battles to survive before that 
lesson in reality. 



"Go read the Old Testament. See how mad I can get. No big 
deal for me to just tear bodies apart and throw pieces all over. 
You want me to get upset cause they scratched your finger? 
Let 'em pour it all out and then let me chop their head off, I'll 
just snap their neck off, throw them on the pile of life. You're 
mine, trust me. Trust me. You're not here without knowing 
what I'm talking about. " 

- Amway Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager' 



' Dexter Yager, Dex Tuesday Evening Part II, Audiotape Stock No. GDL 96-40. Copyright Internet 
Services Corporation 



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1 Journal of Business Ethics 7 (1988) 489-495 

2 Ibid. 

3 The Advocate, 04/26/98 FTC Says Amway no pyramid but... Greg Garland Baton Rouge , LA 

4 Ibid. 

5 Ibid. 

6 Directly Speaking tape transcript, Rich DeVos 



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CHAPTER 13 



Rich DeVos Knew All Along 



"Rich DeVos is uniquely qualified to explain why 
Compassionate Capitalism can lead to financial success for 
the individual, the community and the nation. By his own 
lifetime achievements, Rich has proven why compassion for 
all of one's fellow citizens is a mandatory key to success." 

- Gerald R. Ford, Former President of the United States' 



Dan Bailey from Amway's Rules and Conduct department advised us on repeated 
occasions that we had to get a signed servicing agreement from Kerry and Chris and pay 
them a percentage of our bonuses. He also told us that we had to buy back all the tools 
that members of our group who had quit were attempting to return. That was ridiculous. I 
was not aware of a single case where someone was charged a servicing fee for having 
their upline service their own downline. Whenever someone quit, you simply worked 
with the next person they had sponsored as a course of business. Kerry and Chris were 
free to unethically rape and pillage the group for meeting funds and take the small tool 
break that we had been receiving. 

They were financially better off without us. They also had the benefit of ongoing 
income from our organization. We had spent what seemed like a lifetime trotting the 
globe to build it, and they were going to just step in and reap the benefits! We had no use 
for books and tapes from a business perspective, and we had no intentions of ever 
supporting or building The Business again. We had bought them all from Kerry and 
recommended he repurchase them, as he could re-sell them into his own group or return 
them to Zack, who made many of them for pennies on the dollar. I requested, actually 
begged, on multiple occasions by fax and certified mail that either Zack or Kerry just take 
care of this. There was no net cost to them. We just wanted to get on with our lives, or at 
least try to start a new life. 

It appeared that Kerry thought he could blackmail us into signing anything. We 
made Dan Bailey, Zack, and Kerry aware of the fact that we were destitute. We were 
close to bankruptcy, and I was still unable to land a job. If Amway cut off our income, we 
would certainly go bankrupt, lose our medical insurance, and most likely our home. How 
far would they go? I was not impressed with their complete lack of damage control, if for 
no other reason than to keep their dirty little business hidden in the dark. We might have 
just gone away had they let us. The first pound of flesh they had taken by stealing our 



' DeVos, Rich, Compassionate Capitalism, (Endorsement by Gerald R. Ford) 



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dignity was not enough. We were still far too healthy for them to stop the torment. When 
we thought it could not get any worse, it was just the beginning. 

One of our downline Silver Directs quit The Business and called us. Thank God, 
Kirk and his wife finally came to their senses. They had lost a large sum of money and a 
vast amount of time away from their only daughter. They quit after going to a seminar 
where Zack's next Directs' trip was announced and promoted. The Diamond on stage 
was talking to Directs when he did the promotion. (Remember, the Directs were 
supposedly the first level of big income earners. The organization thought they were 
making from as much as $54,000.) The Diamond told them that they all needed to get to 
the near week-long meeting in Miami, no matter what. All the leaders would be there. He 
told them that if they needed to get a second, third, or fourth job to pay for it, they should 
do whatever it took to get them there. It also had to be booked through the trip planner 
picked by Zack. How much blood could they suck out of those people? They were 
supposed to be working The Business and were told to go get multiple jobs to pay for yet 
another seminar? That was the final straw that blew Kirk right out of The Business. 

I had my resume done professionally and sent out a large number of them for 
many different types of business. I thought that it would only take a few weeks to obtain 
a good, professional position. I had to camouflage the past nine years with Amway and 
describe it as business ownership. It was strange that I was out but still had to hide 
Amway. That dreaded "A " word\ It was like a skin disease, I could not cover up or hide. 

I studied interview questions and techniques at length. I was very well prepared. 
With global business and public speaking experience, I knew I would be working soon. I 
felt both excited and apprehensive about this at the same time. I dressed well and 
presented a good appearance at every interview. I wore my typical Amway warrior's 
uniform — a freshly pressed dark suit, a white cuff-linked shirt, and a red power tie. I did 
well in the initial interviews and immediately made it to the second or third interview 
phases for management and pharmaceutical sales jobs. They looked at my resume and 
smiled and all of them said, "Let me ask you the obvious question... if Jacobs Enterprises 
(my Amway business' name) did well, why are you applying here?" I developed a 
response that was honest and explained that, after almost a decade in business, I had 
discovered that my partners were corrupt. 

This was not enough to overcome my two major interview challenges. The first 
was a question that literally froze my mind and left me unable to speak for a minute. On 
two occasions, I was asked to explain any exceptions that I had made in my business and 
how it worked. I could not even comprehend the question. I had made no exceptions. 
Everything was done exactly as prescribed by the system. I could not think of a single 
instance in nine years. I was certain there were a few, but it was as though I could not 
understand the question. It was as startling to the interviewer as it was to me, since I was 
doing very well until that point on each occasion. I did not recover well either time, 
because I could not even fake an answer. To this day, I remain uncertain as to how to 
answer that question. 

The second problem was even more disturbing. I was becoming increasingly more 
negative, because in Amway, there were never any "problems." We only had "challenges 
or opportunities for growth," but I had to admit that I was having problems. The 
challenges I faced on repeated occasions were internal. I did well in a first, second, or 
third interview. I answered most of the questions with the appropriate response, and from 



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study, I could actually anticipate the next question. I even knew other questions they 
should have asked me. The problem was an unexplainable boiling rage that I experienced 
in the middle of interviews. I was saying all the right things with good posture, good eye 
contact, positive comments, and I was really hoping I would get the job. Another part of 
me was screaming at the interviewer with rage. This was where the brainwashing, or 
thought reform, really came to the forefront. 

I wanted to jump across the desk and just kick the snot out of the little preppy 
punk who was interviewing me. He wanted to give me a J.O.B. and pay me as little as he 
could, so I could be Just Over Broke, be a Jack Ass of the Boss, Jerk On Board. He 
wanted to control my time and income. Controlling my time and income also controlled 
my life. He wanted to take my freedom away from me. He wanted to control my time 
away from my family. There were moments when I wanted to slap him right out of his 
seat. Imagine doing an interview and trying to smile and answer appropriately when, for 
some reason, something deep inside screams and wants to beat the guy unconscious? I 
was so tormented by these conflicting emotions and inner rage. Kathy asked how I did 
after each interview, and I could only shrug, hoping that I had done well enough. 

A local, upscale, grocery store was hiring management, and it looked like a great 
place to work. They had a chain of family-owned stores that had grown to a billion 
dollars a year in sales, and I wanted to have a future there. Thankfully, I got to the third 
interview with flying colors. The manager was a gentleman named Mike, and we really 
hit it off. I would have enjoyed working for him. His team of leaders sincerely seemed to 
respect him. I met with him and his boss for a final look over. I was asked the dreaded 
'exception' question and completely blanked out. I mumbled through a recovery. It had 
been going so well until then. I was one of those in the final consideration for the 
position. I was still hopeful and waited almost two weeks for an answer. I called Mike, 
and he told me that I just wasn't the right fit for the job, so they gave it to someone else. I 
thanked him for his time. I went downstairs and put my fist through the wall. 

I was not a fist-through-the-wall kind of guy. I was unable to see myself as the 
man of the house, because I could not even get a stinking, lousy J.O.B and provide for 
my family. I was worthless. My mind was tormented with a raging stream of conflicting 
thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I did not know who or what I was. I felt no normal 
emotions. I wondered if I would ever become the same man that I was years ago. I could 
not even conceive what happiness felt like. I literally could not remember the emotion. I 
did not know what thoughts were truly mine. 

I needed help. I went to my family doctor. I was beginning to suffer from both 
physical and psychological problems. The skin on my hands was actually peeling off 
until they bled. I was developing an ulcer and drank antacid like water. The nightmares 
and false heart attacks were becoming more frequent and increasing in severity. I could 
not think and could barely carry on a conversation. While waiting for him in an exam 
room, I read a poster on the wall. It listed all the signs of clinical depression. I had them 
all. I explained our entire situation to him, and he was very reassuring. He prescribed an 
anti depressant medication that would knock me out at night. Although I was able to 
sleep at night when medicated, my waking moments became more and more tormented. 
It was clear to me that I was not in control. Kathy was growing weary from the unending 
stress, and the fact that not only had we lost all of our friends, they actually hated us. 
Kerry refused to sign a trumped up "servicing agreement," even though there were a 



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handful of our downline distributors that picked up from them. Amway went to direct 
fulfillment, which meant that all distributors could order products directly from Amway. 
They would also be paid directly, so there was no bookkeeping now. All Kerry and Chris 
would be doing, essentially, was selling tapes, books, videos, and seminar tickets to the 
group, as well as doing training sessions that created a profit for them. 

I have never heard in a single instance where a distributor in the Yager 
organization was forced to sign a servicing agreement. In fact, almost all of Dexter's 
Emerald and Diamonds picked up from someone other than their direct sponsor. For 
example, an Emerald would pick up from the next upline Emerald, and a Diamond would 
only pick up from the next upline Diamond. I now knew that was done to conceal the 
secretive tool breaks at the Emerald level and the huge income at the Diamond level. I 
informed Dan Bailey that nearly every Emerald and Diamond in the Yager organization 
was supplied by someone other than his sponsor without a written servicing agreement. I 
made him aware of many of the same long-term situations in Zack's, Kerry's, and my 
own distributor organization. Regardless of the above, he wouldn't relent. He and my 
upline seemed to be in a collaborative effort to destroy me both personally and 
financially. I felt like an isolated target of their silencing machine. 

I told Dan Bailey of the above, but it made no difference. I seemed to be the 
target — no, my family and children were his apparent target as well. I made all involved 
aware of the havoc they were wreaking on our lives by the ongoing spread of these 
rumors and this economic pressure. They wanted me to "sell" The Business. The sale was 
a joke, as they had always had the massive tool income from it anyway. What they really 
appeared to need was my signature on a secrecy/confidentiality agreement. 



What's Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander 

Amway repeatedly attempted to steer me toward informal conciliation that would 
lead to binding arbitration. The BSMAA was written with a gag order embedded in it. 
Once you go into binding arbitration, you are no longer able to discuss the basis of your 
complaint with other litigants, or anyone else for that matter. Jody Victor, the mega- 
millionaire distributor who, by his own admission, helped craft the BSMAA, worked 
with Amway management and/or ownership to actually have it made part of the Amway 
application. Incredibly and unknowingly, one of the first acts a new Amway distributor 
commits is signing a document taking away their right to a trial by jury if and when they 
ever realize that they have been deceived. An attorney involved in current litigation with 
Amway advised me that it seemed to have been carefully crafted to also assure that there 
could never be a class-action suit brought against Amway or its kingpin distributors. That 
was a smart move, as a single, destitute former distributor seemed to stand no chance 
against an over-funded, legally advantaged Goliath. 

I reviewed tapes of a leader's only meeting where Jody Victor described the 
BSMAA and its purpose as follows: 

This is an important document. One that you will all come to 
know. . . a BSMAA I call it. But it is an idea to be able to say look, here it 
is you guys ...risk reduction of your business. In every kit that will be 



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signed by every distributor... ' 

The BSMAA is of course the Business Support Material., ahhh.. 
Arbitration Agreement that we are drafting and writing... you and I, 
distributors, to place in the kit .. and the ADA Board and the ADA Board 
has instructed the Company, the Company will then collect them. . . as well 
as the other things that are going to be .. words that will be on your 
actually it's an actual document ...but actually words... new words on 
your SA-88 application and your intent to continue so that nobody can 
come in and mess up this business. It virtually shuts out the ability of a 
Hanrahan lawsuit but even more importantly than that, it means that 
nobody is going to mess with your kids. Their future, their business and 
that all risk reduction is totally stamped out, in other words, our goal was 
to do that.... Well, only if we can remain humble, only if we remain filled 
with integrity.... 2 

So this is it .... beahhh Business Support Materials Arbitration 
Agreement. It's a cute little document. So far the Company's even kind of 
staring at me about it. Or how about modifications for the intent to 
continue or even the applications... they told me, "Jody, the application 
will be two pages long." And I said rather it be that than have it be 
anything that would fuss up or mess up anything that our kids are doing 
.... (applause) 3 

One key area of promoting Amway versus other multi-level marketing businesses 
was the emphasis our leaders placed on the Amway Distributors Association Board. 
(ADA) This group was made up of many Diamond (and above that level) distributors that 
were voted into office to represent the distributor force on any policy changes. We were 
told that we were the only Company that had distributor representation on a policy board 
of this nature and that this protected our interests and futures. Each election, Zack would 
pass along a list by Amvox from Dexter as to who he was voting for. We were all to vote 
similarly, and consequently, the deck was usually stacked with Yager or Yager-friendly 
leaders. I was dumbfounded to realize that all these mega-wealthy distributors seemed to 
derive most of their income from the secretive, if not illegal, tool business and had just 
crafted a document that we were all forced to sign. The "risk reduction" BSMAA 
document limited distributors' legal options for recourse if and when they realized they 
had been robbed and deceived. The very people who alleged to represent our best 
interests just collaborated with Amway and reduced their mutual risk, in the event we 
discovered the truth. 

We could most likely go into arbitration, walk out with a huge settlement, but 
then never be able to speak of what happened again. We could never help all those who 
were doomed to believe in the same people we had trusted. We could not, in good 
conscience, take care of ourselves at the expense of many others. Perhaps we were 
foolish and should have looked out for our own welfare. If only someone had spoken up 
years ago, we would not be where we were at that very moment. I did not want to be the 
spokesperson, but I felt a deep sense of moral obligation and saw no other choice. 



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It looked like Dan Bailey was intending to cut off our income, even though we 
had been told again and again that the income was residual and could be passed down to 
future generations. The whole Amway sales pitch revolved around entrepreneurship and 
personal business ownership. Did I ever really own anything? If I could work for a 
decade and then have someone randomly just stop my income from 'my' business, was it 
ever truly mine? I think not. 

I worked on networking with others in my research and discovered some shocking 
news about both Amway and its multi-billionaire co-founder Rich DeVos. He knew of 
the rampant tool abuses and deception that we fell prey to as early as 1983, and most 
likely long before that. I had trusted him and my upline with all my family's future and 
nearly a decade of my life. He knew exactly the deception and abuses that we, and 
millions of other distributors, were going to be subjected to, six full years before Kathy 
and I became loyal, trusting Amway distributors. This whole situation was far worse than 
I had thought. It was looking like the Amway owners and senior executives were 
involved at the highest levels. It is clear that they knew what people like Zack and Dexter 
were doing, and Amway seemed to now be part of it. Why would Amway collaborate 
with those involved in the deception and financial rape of its own global distributor 
force? The answer was soon to come. 



"We had two couples live next to us. They decided they 
were going to destroy us. They had made everybody who had 
bought that house that we lived in leave. They were the 
Mayor of the street. They had driven everybody away. Two 
years after they came against us with everything they had, all 
four of them were dead. All four of them were dead!" 

- Dexter Yager' 



My research continued as I dug deeper and deeper to find out how large this fraud 
really was and who the key players were. Through the Internet, I was able to develop a 
small network of trusted former distributors across the country that were eager to provide 
information. What I was to learn next broke my spirit. It was hard to believe, yet the facts 
are the facts. I found the following court documentation and comments on the web site at: 
Amway The Untold Story, which was researched and made public by web host, Sidney 
Schwartz. He discussed the 'Cairns vs. Amway' lawsuit, filed by a group of 77 
distributor couples from multiple states in the Dexter Yager-Bill Britt line of sponsorship. 
The case was filed for abuses nearly word for word identical to the misrepresentation and 
fraud we were subjected to years later. Sidney Schwartz prefaced the documents by 
stating: 

"In 1984 Cairns v. Amway was initiated by a group of Amway 
distributors; these documents were entered into the court records as 



' Dexter Yager, Dex Tuesday Evening Part II, audiotape Stock No. GDL 96-20 Copyright Internet 
Services Corporation 



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evidence by the plaintiffs. These documents indicate that, at some point in 
the late 70's or early '80's, Amway Corp. became concerned at the 
increasing attention being focused on them by the FTC and various state 
attorneys general, and in response, conducted one or more internal 
investigations. The first two documents are Amway Corp. memos 
concerning the causes and findings of these investigations. Clearly, 
Amway Corp. was very concerned about what it found, and various 
courses of action were recommended. One of the responses to the findings 
of the investigations were the two "Directly Speaking" tapes made by Rich 
DeVos in 1983, in which he addresses a whole laundry list of problems 
and asks for the help of the Direct Distributors in eliminating them. 

These documents have been reproduced here as accurately as 
possible, except where the copies were illegible, inaudible or impossible to 
understand. All emphasis is as it was in the originals. The documents were 
obtained from District Court in Cincinnati." 



I have provided pertinent excerpts of the first portion of a court document 
listed as Exhibit "E" below. An internal Amway document advised the need to 

"Eliminate the illegalities and abuses inherent in distributor 
(motivational) "systems" of non-Amway designed / produced audio- 
visuals, literature and rallies and seminars. " 



"Problems " that Amway senior management was aware of were described as, 

"Widespread illegalities inherent in Amway distributor designed 
"systems" of tapes, books, and rallies. While most of these "systems" were 
conceived in the late 1960's and early 1970's as genuine "support" 
programs to help Amway distributors develop their Amway businesses, 
entrepreneurial "higher pin" discovered and developed programs for 
substantial, separate, additional income, under the Amway "umbrella". 



Internal Amway management documents filed in the case further revealed, 

"Subsequent legal evaluations disclosed that the disproportionate 
(to Amway) sales, intensity and solicitation of these "tools/systems" are 
illegal, per se, under several U.S. federal and state laws." 

"That operating and/or participating in a solicitation, sales and/or 
distribution scheme involving only non-consumer items - particularly 
motivational tapes - violates state pyramid / chain distribution laws, and 



Amway The Untold Story Web Site 



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could lead to Amway distributors being indicted and/or convicted of 
criminal fraud." 

I was shocked to read this, as the tool business was described in this Amway 
internal document as an enterprise that violated state pyramid laws and could result in 
Amway distributors being indicted and/or convicted of criminal fraud. If this was 
common knowledge in the early 1980s, why was nothing done to prevent me and 
millions of others from being lured under false pretenses into an enterprise that Amway 
acknowledged could result in a fraud conviction? The document continued with these 
statements: 

"Increasing proliferation of Amway distributor participants 
publicly stating, "We're not in Amway", or "Amway is just a supplier", 
etc., could become self- fulfilling prophecy." 

Six years or more after this was written, in 1989, we were recruited and taught to 
recruit with that exact terminology. We were taught to recruit prospects based upon the 
fact that they would own their own business, and 'we' had just chosen Amway to act as 
our corporate supplier from the many companies we dealt with. Distributors were 
admonished not to hide Amway behind their upline group name. 

"... Particularly where "organization names are used to "replace" 
the Amway name - e.g. "Mindbenders International"" 

We were told to tell people the name of the company was Walters International if 
they asked. Amazing! Amway was aware of rampant abuses. They knowingly let these 
practices remain in place, while millions of distributors were recruited through 
manipulation and deception. The founders of Amway became billionaires, because 
recruitment mushroomed as a result of these practices. 

Amway has stated that its stance on the system is that it must be non-coercive; 
however, these programs were anything but non-coercive! Amway knew it then and 
knows it now. I explained to senior Amway management, in writing, that in the 
Yager/Walters' organization, the purchase of tools was mandatory. They appear to have 
not only taken no action against them, even though this information had been provided 
via fax and certified mail. In fact, Amway has lavished the worst offenders with 
enormous financial bonuses. Amway was knowingly rewarding the behavior of the 
greatest offenders with year-end bonuses of millions of dollars. Distributors were 
recruited en masse with the presentation that they had access to a system of success, that 
had a 100% success rate. Once they were actively involved, the highest levels of 
Distributor leadership taught us to cut off support and assistance from anyone who did 
not buy into the system. If you wanted help from your apparently wise, wealthy upline, it 
was necessary to be willing to invest in 'yourself and 'your own business.' It started out 
gradually, but we were soon coerced and manipulated into purchasing an unending array 
of standing order tapes, videos, books, CDs, and seminar tickets. 

How far would this go? As a course of conduct and a specific, national pattern of 
business, distributors had been taught that there was no selling; we just bought from 



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ourselves. We were taught many creative ways to camouflage the fact that it was Amway. 
We simply "owned" our own business and taught others to do the same. It was made 
very, very clear that there was no success outside of the system. We had to be on the 
tape-of-the-week plan, and we had to attend all rallies (seminars) to be considered 
"plugged in," in order to succeed. I am deeply shocked and saddened to find and read 
transcripts of tapes which reveal the fact that Rich DeVos had personal knowledge of 
fraud, illegalities and abusive practices. The quotes below are excerpts from the "Directly 
Speaking" tapes made by Rich DeVos. To his credit, these tapes were initially made and 
sent to the direct distributors to stamp out these abuses. The revelations of how much he 
knew in 1983 are shocking. 

The quotes that follow come from a transcript in the Cairns lawsuit labeled 
"Exhibit "A", Directly Speaking, January 1983, Rich DeVos 
Amway Cassette Series VA-2160. 

"And so we need your help on some of that stuff, 
we just got to clean it up. I get too many letters in here 
from people who are still being told, "You don't have to sell 
products, we're in a marketing group, we're just in a 
marketing outfit. No selling is necessary." Now you know, 
that's a lie." 

We were recruited and were taught to recruit others on the premise that this was a 
wholesaling business. Many people joined when sold on the fact that they were already 
generating this volume as consumers. Few would have been interested in direct sales. I 
would never have done it. We often heard that it seemed like a 'no-brainer,' getting paid 
for what you were already doing as a consumer. We just had to be 100% loyal to our own 
product line and teach others to do the same. That seemed to make sense, but in many 
cases, it coerced distributors to buy many higher priced items than they had previously 
been purchasing at the grocery store. Mr. DeVos was clearly well aware of the fact that 
there were wide spread rampant abuses when he stated, 

"I'm telling you I need you're help on cleaning up 
some of these situations. Now, I got — as we said — I got 
stacks of letters that came in — I — I can't tell you how 
many of people have written. Hundreds and thousands." 

Incredibly, despite multiple lawsuits, bad press and "hundreds and thousands of 
letters" flooding Amway, they would later make a statement to the effect that distributors 
who got ripped off by the deceptive, completely non-voluntary tools system were an 
unfortunate isolated incident in the Amway business. Further research revealed that a 
couple named John and Stacy Hanrahan filed a class-action lawsuit over typical, 
systematic abuses on July 20, 1994. They claimed that they lost money after being 
coerced into participating in the tool business and nearly got divorced after succumbing 
to the cult-like teachings of their upline's system, which included Mega- distributors, Bill 
Britt and Dexter Yager. They filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and a 



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group of distributors. The abuses they alleged were nearly identical to those of 
distributors that had come both before and after them. 

Amway's posture in this situation was mind boggling. Amway Vice President, 
Craig Meurlin, commented on the case in the 8/17/96 edition of the Philadelphia 
Enquirer. In considering the proposed settlement to the plaintiffs in the case, he stated, 

"We 're just pleased to move on. Stacy Hanrahan and the other 
plaintiffs had a very abnormal experience with the company. " 

That was ludicrous. This was anything but abnormal. This was typical of what 
was happening to distributors, and Amway had known this for over a decade. I was 
sickened by what I was learning. The 1983 DeVos transcript continued with Rich DeVos 
quoting an excerpt from a letter, a distributor had sent him. 

"(Unintelligible) ... I consider myself to be an — 
ambitious, aggressive group. Directs, that was (sic) 
determined to reach their set goal at the expense of the 
Distributors, come hell or high water. Their philosophy, 
"Mortgage your home, cash in your insurance, get a bank 
loan and borrow from whosoever will loan you. We were 
told in our, and I'll leave the name out because it would 
identify the organization, in our so and so meeting, certain 
things discussed were to remain within the walls wherein 
discussed or suggested." 

This typified the terrible, often contradictory, financial counsel distributors 
received. They were lured into the business to develop a debt-free lifestyle. They were 
encouraged to pay the price and at any cost, to go Diamond. They were told to get out of 
debt, yet also told to buy 100% of their own (often expensive) products from themselves 
and to be 100% "plugged in" to the system. Over a period of time, the combined costs ran 
into tens of thousands of dollars for many needy, trusting distributors. 

The comment regarding keeping some information among themselves was 
interesting. As I later discovered in my extensive cult research, that admission became 
very meaningful. There was a clear distinction of tiers of knowledge and what 
distributors were allowed to know at each level. Entry-level distributors literally had no 
idea what was happening to them, as their seemingly successful, warm, and encouraging 
upline sold them on The Business and led them into the system. As a high-level Emerald 
distributor, I still had no idea what the true agenda of our upline was at the time. As a 
reader of this book, you currently know more about Amway than I did after spending 
personal time with Rich DeVos, Dexter Yager and nearly a decade working with the 
highest-level distributors in the world. 

Mr. DeVos went on to make the following statements. 

"...Now, the tape business, if it is not used as a 
support for the Amway business, will oftentimes be an 



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illegal business — in fact, it could be called a pyramid — 
because, d — does not get sold to the consumer. Which 
means that all the tape business does is take money out of 
the organization, and because the final person can't retail it, 
it never brings money into the organization." 

"....We have a major lawsuit going right now with 
an attorney general in one of the states based on people 
making what they say are excess claims and telling people 
they hardly have to work at all, telling them you can make 
$50,000.00 a year and you only have to work twelve hours 
a week. Now, you and I both know, you know; that — that 
just can't be put up with." 

"I got too many letters from people who have told 
me that they were told that if they didn't support their 
upline and buy his or her tapes, then they would not give 
them any help. I can't put up with that. It is a sponsor's 
responsibility to train, motivate and supply their people. 
That's for the privilege of being the sponsor; not whether 
they buy some extra things you've decided to sell. . . ." 

"If I offer tapes, books and rallies, they will always 
be presented on a voluntary basis. No strings, no pressure, 
and no force, and by 'force' I mean such as saying to 
somebody in your group that "You must take ten tickets. 
You must take a hundred tickets. Here's your hundred 
tickets. Pay me for 'em. You better get rid of 'em. We're 
going to fill this hall. Or saying, "You must subscribe to 
Tape of the Week, or I won't work with you." That's force. 
You know, you offer these things, but you do that 
voluntarily. If you do it that way, fine. It doesn't diminish 
your willingness to work with them. Pure, voluntary use of 
support materials. By the way, you ought to be very 
careful, because the moment you do anything more than 
what I am saying to you to do, which is voluntarily offer 
them, you are going to run the risk of having an 
employer/employee relationship. That's the last thing you 
need." 

If Rich is right about this employer/employee relationship, the Diamond 
distributors could be liable for hundreds of million of dollars in back withholding taxes. 
He continued with, 

"Some of you have got to ask yourself whether 
you're really in the Amway business or whether you're in 
the tape business. You got to ask yourself whether you're 



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really in the rally business or in the Amway business. You 
must ask yourself if everything you're doing is to support 
your Amway business or is it really for a secondary 
motive...." 

From a second tape that he made, also called Directly Speaking, date unknown 
(probably Feb. or March 1983), Rich DeVos Amway Cassette Series VA-2160, Rich 
talks about a deluge of nearly identical letters he received in response to his first Directly 
Speaking tape. 

"Let me take some of the kind of nasty ones first. 
They kind of come in groups, by the way. You can always 
tell when some person in the business — perhaps in a 
leadership position — has called together his Directs and 
given them the word, because a whole bunch of letters or 
telegrams come in; and they all say exactly the same 
thing." 

This was an interesting comment, in light of the fact of what had happened to us 
with the cease-and-desist letters. Within three days of a meeting with my upline, who told 
our closest friends to send them, we were inundated with letters, all reading almost 
exactly the same. Some even had the same typographical errors in them. One distributor 
in our group, who called Dan Bailey to complain that Kerry would not buy the tools back 
at any price, was advised by Dan Bailey to file a formal complaint against me. He shared 
with Dan that he had no interest in that, but Mr. Bailey mailed him the complaint form 
anyway. The distributor said that he filled it out and filed a complaint against Kerry. It 
was amazing that Amway 's head of business conduct was advising distributors in our 
downline to file complaints against us. The apparent reason for this would soon become 
clear. Once a sufficient document trail had been created, they could then take action 
against us in an apparent attempt to financially starve us into submission. 



'Rich DeVos is one of our country's most successful 
businessmen" 

- George Bush Former President of the United States 



Through Internet contacts, I was able to meet an important figure in this whole 
situation. His name is Gerry Hayden. I drove across several states to Connecticut and met 
with Gerry and his wife, Edda. In 1997, the Hay dens had filed a lawsuit against Amway, 
Dexter Yager and members of his upline for virtually the same fraud and abuses we had 
fallen prey to. They were very kind people to speak with, and it was a relief to talk to 
someone that understood what was going on. I provided them with documentation for 
their case, and we talked about the almost identical abuses and outright fraud we both had 



From his endorsement of Hope from My Heart by Rich DeVos. 



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perpetrated upon us by Yager Diamonds. The more we talked, the more striking 
similarities we discovered between what had happened to us. He had been a Direct 
distributor and had complained that he felt his group was being taken advantage of by the 
tool system. 

After questioning the system and their all-knowing upline, they had been 
immediately labeled as troublemakers. Their group was told horrible lies about them in a 
smear campaign that effectively 'erased' them almost exactly as we had been. 
Amazingly, years earlier and several states away, he had received nearly identical cease- 
and-desist letters from his group. 

My attorney contacted another attorney involved in litigating yet another case for 
Amway distributors. That attorney and the plaintiff, I was speaking with, confirmed that 
Chubb Insurance Company and other carriers insured the Diamonds against the costs of 
lawsuits. I would later learn that Zack was insured by State Farm. These attorneys were 
dealing with insurance carriers. I wondered if Chubb had any idea of the magnitude of the 
liability they might have to absorb with these policies. They could possibly get off the 
hook if they could prove intentional fraud against the Diamonds. I could not believe that 
the Diamonds, who professed deep love and servant hood to their groups, were insured 
against being sued when their often destitute downline realized what had happened. It 
looked very much like the odds were staked against the trusting distributor force on all 
fronts. 

Gerry had a rage toward Amway, in that he felt they had known all along about 
what was going to happen to all of us. He had long ago discovered the Directly Speaking 
tape transcripts that I was reviewing. He warned me to be very careful, as someone had 
broken into his attorney's office and stolen documentation (tapes) for his case. I felt like 
I was now involved with the Mafia. My fears were increasing with the more I learned 
about Amway, Rich DeVos and my upline. 

I returned home and began to review the last of the Directly Speaking tape 
Transcript in which Rich DeVos continues with: 

"...to draw your attention to the kind of potential 
abuse that we thought was there, which we now know is 
there, with a kind of power and pressure I never believed; 
and I am not going to take all 
afternoon to read you the horror stories of the people who 
say, "I'm connected with such and such a system. I have 
$8,000 worth of their tapes in my basement. They will not 
take them back," and the others who were told to mortgage 
their houses, cash in their life insurance, told to go to the 
bank to borrow because this big weekend seminar was so 
important. Well, that's extracting money. 

Let me talk to you about the legal side, beyond price 
fixing, that deals with pyramids, that deals with the illegal 
operation of a business that does not have an end consumer, 
where the product is not retailed. That would include all 
books and tapes. The sad news, folks, is that when those 



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things go out that way and they become excessive, beyond 
my ten or twenty percent theoretical guideline, hopefully 
acceptable, to where it's a reasonable support system, but 
not beyond the reasonable element, then it becomes an out 
and out illegal pyramid." 

I would later go on to personally inform, by fax and certified mail, current 
Amway President Dick DeVos (Rich's son) of the mandatory nature of the tools business. 
Distributors had actually been advised that if they did not have enough money for 
products and tapes, they could buy books, tapes, and seminar tickets to continue to 
educate themselves. Nearly every 'plugged-in' distributor in my organization had been 
induced to build what Rich DeVos had years earlier defined as an illegal pyramid. 

The message continues with this: 

"We thought competition between the people and 
the field would keep the pricing down. But it didn't work 
that way. There was a subtle pressure put into this 
organization that I never felt would exist. I watch people 
being intimidated, threatened, coerced, scared. My mail has 
got in it letters from people who didn't sign it. One man 
started, "This comes from John Doe. If I told you who I 
was, I would be threatened; because I have been told never 
to talk to the company. My upline is my source of all 
guidance and information." Hey folks, that's scary. That is 
intimidation." 

"...If I only had one letter like that, I might have 
dismissed it; but I had many more than one. And I have 
many others who signed their name, but spoke of the same 
pressure, fear." 

This confirmed that threats and intimidation were nothing new to those whom we 
had come to trust. Perhaps the death threat I received was not the only one. I would later 
learn of the kidnapping, beating, and murder of a distributor's son. 
A full review of the entire transcript leads the author to believe that Mr. DeVos 
acknowledged a complete understanding that the Amway business was being utilized as a 
recruitment device to ultimately sell people on the secretive tool system. Amway was 
being used as a front company. The tool business would never stand on it's own. This 
was a bait and switch of the highest order, in that people were lured into Amway, based 
upon the so-called lifestyle and incomes of the "Amway Diamonds," when in fact, they 
derived nearly all their income from the ghost tool business. 

The 'bait and switch' was a topic I had discussed at length with both the FBI and 
the Assistant U.S. Attorney. They both seemed to have a clear grasp of the situation. 
When I finally called FBI agent Lou Glodek to see what he could tell me about the 
investigation, he told me that he could not discuss it. I did not know if that was good or 
bad. An investigation could have been killed politically by now, or it could be in full 



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swing. I continued to obtain information regarding Zack's open and seminar meetings 
and faxed Lou updates so that the agents could attend. 

Again, from Rich DeVos' 1983 message, 

"I've not tried to say to you, you can't sell tapes or 
books or motivational aids to your people; but I am telling 
you that if your secondary business is other than a support 
mechanism in a reasonable volume level in relationship to 
your Amway business, it may very well be an illegal 
business." 

I understood why Zack warned us not to talk to a lot of people or get any new 
ideas when we went to Ada, Michigan for our Direct Distributor seminar. The "new 
ideas" were most likely the fact that the tools system was corrupt and that our recruitment 
into Amway was predicated upon misrepresentation. The other new information we 
might have received was that we were supposed to be selling products to customers to get 
a bonus. There were a lot of skeletons in this closet. I was deeply saddened, enraged and 
physically nauseated to learn that this had been going on for decades and to know that 
people, who were in a position to, did not stop it. The transcript revealed more, beginning 
with Mr. DeVos quoting yet another distributor letter complaining of abuses. : 

"He says, My concern lies in two areas. The most 
recent event occurred last evening. Our sponsors told us 
that (and it's and an 'Emerald' under 'so-and-so') — said that, 
"My wife and I were considered inactive and could no 
longer receive BV from our legs." Wow. "Therefore, our 
BV check for January was $2.69, based on the BV of the 
products we use personally." Who said you have the right 
to cut anybody out because they don't follow you? 
Unbelievable abuse of power, arbitrarily deciding who's 
active and who's inactive and who is entitled. We will be 
following up on that one personally." 

That made my blood boil, because it was exactly what Amway was doing to me. I 
exposed systematic fraud and/or global abuses to my organization and to Amway. I 
declared that I was going inactive, and I was about to have my income shut off. Now it 
was Amway that was actually cutting my income out in collaboration with my upline. It 
was outrageous. It seemed as if we were trapped in an incredible web of deceit and 
hidden loyalties and agendas. I initially was led to believe that I owned and controlled my 
own business. Millions were brought in believing this. However, as Amway has clearly 
known for almost two decades, distributors would be cut off and put out in the cold if 
they questioned their upline or refused to totally buy into their system. The text went on 
by stating: 



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"In our opinion, we will go through that new 
adjustment period, deciding whether we really want to be in 
the Amway business or whether our other things are more 
important to us." 

The answer to this near two-decade-old, rhetorical question appeared to be fairly 
evident. It looked as if Amway, its leadership and ownership, sold their collective souls 
to the god of money, power, and greed. By working with Jody Victor and others on the 
BSMAA and its related gag order, they had effectively bound and gagged their own 
distributor force to be repeatedly and silently gang raped by the Amway Diamonds for 
system funds. Mr. DeVos' intentions in 1983 appeared to be both noble and in the best 
interest of his company and its growing global distributor force. However, it was obvious 
that he did not follow through and stop the abuses. Did they have the power to take that 
next step? Certainly they did. They could have stopped the income of the abusing 
Kingpins, just as they were about to shut off mine. 

There was a symbiotic relationship between Amway and its Kingpin leaders and 
their systems of success. The systems were of no value without Amway as a front 
company to recruit well-meaning, ambitious people. Amway's success and exploding 
volume came almost exclusively, we were told, from these huge organizations. Certainly, 
Amway would have taken a financial loss in terminating the offending Kingpin 
distributors. It would, however, have protected the people who came into Amway 
believing it was a way for them to improve their finances. 

By allowing the major distributors to continue to abuse and to deceive their 
people, Amway was catapulted to an estimated seven billion dollar a year global giant. 
Looking the other way may have had its perks, as Amway and its owners accumulated a 
large private island in the Caribbean (Peter Island), as well as a fleet of corporate yachts 
and jets. To hell with the families who had come to them with trust and hope! I am so 
sickened to learn that what happened to us could have been prevented. While Rich 
DeVos was accumulating his multi billion dollar net worth, he knowingly allowed 
countless families like ours to be systematically destroyed. I began, once again, to spiral 
into a deep depression and personal darkness that seems to know no end. 



"Tonight you had the privilege of being in a room with 
one of the richest men in the world, Rich DeVos, who went 
beyond my parent's teaching to teach me so many principles 
in the business world. Birdie and I grew up loving this man. 
It's been a special night when he came here out of retirement 
to honor Birdie and I." 

- Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager 



Dexter Yager, Crown Ambassadors Dexter & Birdie Yager. Stock No. FED 94-12 Copyright Internet 
Services Corporation 



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1 Emerald Directs II GDL 97-20 Internet Services 

2 Ibid. 

3 Ibid. 



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CHAPTER 14 



"The War of the Roses" 



"Newsweek is proud of its marketing partnership with 
Anyway. Amway's extensive advertising campaign in support 
of Junior Achievement can play a significant role in bringing 
entrepreneurial ideas and opportunities to business people 
everywhere. " 

- Carolyn Wall, Publisher Newsweek Magazine ' 



The "Directly Speaking" tapes started a battle between Amway and the 
motivational organizations over the tool business. The aftermath of these tapes caused 
what Billy Zeoli referred to as the "War of the Roses." Billy was the President of Gospel 
Films and frequently spoke to Amway groups and particularly to Dexter' s Emeralds and 
Diamonds. He also worked closely in Michigan with Rich DeVos, who happened to be 
Chairman of the Board of Gospel Films. They also have Gospelcom.net, the most 
successful Christian Internet site in history, with over one billion hits a year. We 'passed 
the plate' at many seminars and contributed, at our upline's request, to Gospel Films. 

A literal legal war broke out between Amway and the high-level distributors that 
were reaping fortunes from their surreptitious tool businesses. The legal war, combined 
with some bad press, caused Amway's annual revenues to plummet by tens of millions of 
dollars in twelve months' time. It sounded as if Billy acted as a go between for Amway or 
Rich DeVos and Dexter, at some point in this war. At a leaders-only Emerald meeting, 
Diamonds talked about those hard times. Some spoke of being summoned to hearings at 
Amway headquarters and being told that Dexter Yager was a crook. One Diamond 
shared how she went to a meeting with a tape recorder and a bodyguard snatched it out of 
her hands before the meeting. Did Amway have a goon squad to intimidate people? 
Deeper research appeared to confirm Amway's willingness to use strong-arm tactics on 
anyone who dared verbalize opposition. Amway was becoming a very wealthy, 
influential company. In 1991, Forbes did a story on Amway and its leaders. This article 
stated: 

DeVos and Van Andel have become very powerful men. Former 
Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan have addressed Amway rallies. 
Some Senators have been Amway distributors, as have celebrities like Pat 
Boone and former football coach Tom Landry. All of these role models 
help inspire the Amway movement with a patriotic and religious feeling. 1 



Carolyn Wall, Amagram, June 1999 



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The article went on to illuminate some of Amway's problems: 



Former distributors and Amway officials say that, like many 
movements based on a cult of personality, Amway's attitude toward any 
insider critical of the organization has bordered on paranoia. Edward 
Engel was Amway's Chief Financial Officer until 1979; he resigned over 
a disagreement with DeVos and Van Andel on how to run the Canadian 
operations. That apparently branded him a traitor; he says he and his 
family received threats for years after his resignation. "It was a Big 
Brother organization, " says Engel today. "Everyone assumed that the 
phones were tapped, and that Amway had something on everybody." 

In 1983, Engel's former secretary, Dorothy Edgar, was helping the 
Canadians in their investigation of the company. She was roughed up in 
Chicago, after she was told to "stay away from Amway." Engel, who 
picked her up after the incident, says he believes her story. Amway would 
not comment on the incident. There was extremely bad publicity in 1982 
when a former distributor, Philip Kerns, quit to write a damaging expose 
called Fake It Till You Make It. Kerns charges that Amway used detectives 
to follow him and rough him up. Kern's expose prompted the Phil 
Donahue show and 60 minutes to run uncomplimentary pieces on Amway. 
Amway's recruitment dropped off; with it, sales plunged an estimated 
30% in the early 1980's. 

In 1984, another former Amway insider, Donald Gregory, says he 
started to write a book on Amway, but the company obtained a gag order 
against Gregory in a Grand Rapids court. 2 

In an Emerald meeting I attended with Zack and Dexter, Amway Triple Diamond 
Rick Setzer spoke of his personal legal war against Amway to defend and/or protect his 
tool business. He explained that, while he was incurring huge legal fees, Amway cut off 
his income completely in an apparent effort to starve him out. He had to sell many of his 
assets just to survive this period. Unlike Kathy and I, he had been wealthy at the 
inception of this financial assault. 

Kathy and I did not have that luxury. This information was never passed to the 
group but was given to us, so we could "truly appreciate the price our upline had paid" in 
order to secure a strong future and the tools that we needed to grow. We had been told for 
some time that things had never been better between the field (us) and the company 
(Amway). Now I understood these references. Because we were cut off from outside or 
negative information, we had not had knowledge of what happened in the past. No matter 
how I looked at this situation and scrutinized the information, I couldn't find any relief, 
because I did not want these accusations to be true. But the real picture was becoming all 
too clear. It had been a rotten, stinking, deceptive mess many years before we came 
along. Worse than that, Amway was fully aware of the problems and did not stop the 



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abusive high-level leaders. I was an unlikely whistle blower, as I had wanted more than 
anything to discover that I was wrong about everything. 

I read and reread the documentation several times over a few months. During the 
last couple of readings, the system-induced psychological coma had been wearing off, 
and I was now able to think more clearly and reason at times. My thinking was not yet 
consistent, but I had several days in a row when I could actually function almost 
normally. I would then crash into depression and a fog-like trance. This would last for 
well over a year. 



Keep the Home Fires Burning 

"You are God's anointed!" 

- Amway Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager ' 

I was now able to spend almost all my time at home with my family. Out of the 
horror had come the opportunity that I had striven for all along. I literally loved my 
family more than life itself. You would think this would be a relief to me, but I was 
tormented now by our time together. For years, I had been tormented by our time apart. 
How can I help you understand this? I was strangely nervous about the time at home and 
often felt compelled to leave at strange hours. I had not been home much in the 
afternoons, nights, and weekends for so many years that Kathy had developed her own 
life and schedule. We did not know where we fit into each other's lives or what our roles 
should be. I was a stranger in my own home and being there, during what had been my 
non-stop work hours, made me panicky and nervous. 

I played with my kids, and we actually took walks to the park as a family. Often, 
when we arrived at the park, it would be near 8:00 p.m., which was the time I would have 
been showing the plan. I felt panic stricken and guilty. If I loved my family, I would be 
out performing for them and securing their future. The old programs were still running 
powerfully in my mind — without my consent. We sat in bed and watched television 
shows as a family. We had heard again and again that it was the 'hell-a-vision' and the 
'electronic income reducer.' We had heard of losers that would nightly succumb to the 
'blue hue,' as they went broke. In my own seminars to very large crowds, I had often 
reinforced this point by imploring the men to be real men and heroes to their families by 
setting the example. They did not want to be "couch potatoes raising little 'tater tots'!" It 
was an effective joke to make the point clear. 

Previously, before a counseling session, the wives of Directs in our group would 
call Kathy or me and report on their husbands for watching TV when they should be out 
getting financially free. I would then address this problem by using third party examples, 
so the husband wouldn't know he had been exposed. What a sick perversion of loyalties. 
I really felt ashamed of myself. 

Continual letters from our upline and Amway arrived, and I was feeling a 
tremendous financial pressure. I had not been able to secure employment, despite a flurry 



' Dexter Yager. Dex Tuesday Evening Part II, Audiotape Stock No. GDL 96-40 Copyright Internet 
Services Corporation 



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of resumes and interviews. I had not anticipated being unemployed for such a long period 
of time, as I had never gone without a job more than a few weeks in my life. 

Amway was posturing to stop my income if I did not agree to buy back many 
books and tapes that were of no commercial value to me. I also would not meet face to 
face with my gun-toting sponsor. His over-the-edge loyalty scared me. I did not know 
what he was capable of doing, and I really did not want to find out either. There seemed 
to be no limit. I was unable to purchase the tools back, as I was financially destitute. Even 
if I had the money, I was unable to purchase them and then resell them into my group. I 
had been threatened with legal action for having any contact with my own organization. 
Most importantly, I now believed the tool business was completely deceptive, unethical, 
and illegal. I would have nothing to do with it. 

Amway was going to cancel our income if we did not obtain a written servicing 
agreement from Kerry and Chris. They were well aware of our dire financial situation, 
because I had advised everyone that needed to know with certified letters. We are unable 
to make even the minimum payments on the massive debt we had accumulated while we 
had been Amway distributors. We attempted to keep our mortgages current but were 
forced to file for bankruptcy. It was one more degradation. We actually had to borrow 
money to pay the fees for an attorney to help us declare the bankruptcy. We had had so 
much of our human dignity stripped away from us that we numbly and painfully filled 
out all the appropriate forms. We were like Zombies by then. How far would this go? 

Our upline seemed to find new ways to harass us, and once more, they pummeled 
us unmercifully. They made insane demands that looked very much like blackmail. Dan 
Bailey at Amway Rules and Conduct continued to try to steer us toward the informal 
conciliation process. This was a funnel that could lead to binding arbitration, perhaps an 
enormous check for us and then silence. We would not do this. Despite the fact that 
Kathy and I and Kerry and Chris have serviced non-personally sponsored distributors for 
years for no fee and without an agreement, they pressed for an agreement with a 15% fee 
of our total monthly income. At one point, they even pressed us to pre-pay other 
trumped-up costs, knowing full well that we were destitute and unable to meet any such 
financial requirement. During this, we told Zack, Kerry, and Dan Bailey that we were 
being forced into bankruptcy. We told them that we had already lost our medical 
insurance and were facing foreclosure. 

Kerry made more far-reaching demands as our situation worsened. He agreed to 
sign a servicing agreement, which allowed us to save our home and keep our medical 
insurance, if we agreed to release Kerry and Zack from any liability related to our 
Amway business. In another ridiculous blackmail-like offer, they agreed to sign the 
servicing agreement j/we signed a form stating essentially that we would not transmit, 
publish, or broadcast (in any form) our experiences in Amway. 

We could save ourselves if we simply turned our backs on humanity. Had we 
signed it, you would not be reading these words. We wondered how long it could all last 
and how far they would go to completely destroy us. Dan Bailey seemed to be working in 
harmony with our upline and openly carbon copied them on some correspondence to us. 



Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink 



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We were feeling incredible pressured when I sent a professional letter to Dick 
DeVos, Rich's son and the new President of Amway. I was fearful that Amway would 
cancel our income, and we would lose our home. The letter that I sent was not hateful or 
angry, and I felt it would win him over with reason. Part of me wanted to still believe this 
was a good company. Naively, I believed that the letter I sent would resolve our situation. 
With the single exception of concealing my sponsor's name, the text you read below is 
the complete, unedited version of the letter that I faxed and sent by certified mail to him 
regarding our current status. 

May 21, 1999 
Amway Corporation 
Dick DeVos President 
7575 Fulton Street East 
ADA, Michigan 49355 

RE: Amway Emerald Nightmare 

Dear Mr. DeVos: 

I am writing this to you as someone who, like you and your family, 
has shown total dedication to Amway. For nearly the past decade, I have 
driven and flown hundreds of thousands of miles in several countries to 
build the Amway business. It took enormous effort, work and 
perseverance to reach the level of Emerald. We brought in an enormous 
amount of people from every walk of life and spoke to thousands from 
stage. So far, this sounds like the type of Amway success story that your 
dad had envisioned decades ago. I have defended your father, my upline 
and Amway to all that I know. 

The unfortunate truth is that my wife and I, like tens of thousands 
of others, were snared in a carefully orchestrated psychological web of 
deception called the system. This, combined with the cult like 
manipulative control techniques, employed as a normal course of business 
by the many in Diamond leadership, have led to me filing for bankruptcy. 
My wife and I walked from active participation in this business for ethical 
reasons (see letter enclosed). 

I understand that both my upline and Amway have a vested interest 
in salvaging my organization. It is amazing that we were heroes to the 
masses a short time ago. However, since we left our friends/group have 
had the following rumors circulated: 

1) I am a drug addict 

2) I am an alcoholic 

3) I have a gambling problem 

4) I am having an affair 



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5) My wife is sleeping with one of our Directs 

6) We are getting divorced 

7) I falsified tax returns that were shown to my leaders 

8) I told (Kerry's true name here) that the way to make big money 
in Amway is to go Emerald and sue 

There are more, but I think you get the picture. None of the above 
are true. Those were enough to give my wife, whom I love dearly, a 
nervous breakdown. I had thought the attacks would be confined to me at 
least. This does not appear to be in the spirit of what your dad started. 

Imagine our heartbreak as we just read the transcripts of the 
Directly Speaking tape. There is no way to express the depth of our shock 
or pain to learn that Amway was fully aware of these distributor abuses in 
1983, a full six years before we started on as excited, young Amway 
distributors. Dan Bailey, in your Global Business Conduct Department, 
has a lengthy letter that we sent to our directs detailing the extensive 
abuses we endured as loyal Amway distributors. In the letter is a 
transcript of a tape recorded counseling session with my upline Double 
Diamond in which he teaches me how to coerce/force mandatory 
participation in the tool business. In this line of sponsorship, it costs a 
minimum of $2,500 a year just in system costs to remain an Amway 
distributor. There are other, multiple examples of the "forced" nature of 
this "voluntary" support system in the letter. 

To my knowledge, Mr. Bailey has taken no action on any of 
these incredible violations of Amway's own rules of conduct and the 

BSMAA. Quite the opposite is true. I just received a letter from him 
threatening to cancel my ADA over a non issue when the above rape of a 
huge distributor force is being apparently overlooked. Enclosed is my 
response to Mr. Bailey. 

Sir, there is no way for you to right the wrong we have suffered at 
the hands of our upline. You cannot give me back the last nine and a half 
years of my life in which I was used as a pawn to unwittingly extract 
almost $4,000,000 in tool/seminar money from the people I love the most 
(distributors). Almost all have failed economically from being taught to 
bring in more people and get them on the system as opposed to doing 
volume. I will carry that guilt and shame for life. What you can do is 
"call the dogs off. I am negotiating with my sponsor (letter enclosed) for 
the formal written agreement that Mr. Bailey is threatening to cancel my 
ADA and meager income over. I have not yet found a job. I have lost 
almost every possession I have with the exception of my home. I have 
three small children and would like to keep a roof over their heads. 

I think the Yager "system" and other systems were perceived as a 
necessary cancer by Amway at some point. Your Dad mentioned in the 



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Directly Speaking tapes that the system should never be more than 10- 
20% of your dollar volume because this would be considered a pyramid as 
it only takes from the sales force with no end user to retail to. In many 
instances in our line of sponsorship, the system cost are 100% or greater 
than the dollar amount of products that the distributor is moving. The 
system is now, in fact, the business. The cancer has overtaken the body 
and the tumor appears to be inseparably intertwined with something that 
was once so good. 

I do not expect a personal response, but I would be glad to speak 
with you. We are not the average couple to buy a kit. We sacrificed all on 
the belief of the goodness and integrity of our upline and Amway. I am 
asking for your assistance in ending our nightmarish experience in 
something we once believed in with all our hearts and soul. 

Thank you for your time. 

John Jacob 

I was relieved to send this off, as I felt it was well thought out and appealed to Mr. 
DeVos' sheer sense of basic integrity. I could not have been more wrong, judging by the 
response. You see, neither he nor his staff ever did respond to this certified letter and the 
fax that went directly to his office. Now you would think that the President of a 
multinational, multi-billion-dollar corporation would have an interest when a key leader 
exposed enormous global abuses. Perhaps, as the analogy goes, the apple does not fall far 
from the tree, as many distributors had previously written to his father for years over the 
same issues. Pathetically, Dick DeVos had made the statement below to us at a seminar. 

"I hope that you'll know that if there is anything that I 
can do personally to be of assistance to you, and to support 
you and help you achieve your dreams and your goals with 
this business. I stand ready to do anything I can. Because we 
are about a wonderful mission that you and I can feel very, 
very good about together." 

- Dick DeVos, President of Amway' 

You would have thought that all of the revelations from my research would have 
brought us comfort. But we felt even more injured and abused knowing that what 
happened to us could have been prevented. I was further sickened, knowing how we were 
used and manipulated from our very first contact with Kerry and Zack. This may be the 
largest, ongoing, most well coordinated, well-orchestrated theft by deception in the 
history of business. I could not believe it had gone on that long. I also could not believe 
the magnitude of the beast we were up against. How could I ever expose this and help 
people? How would I keep my home and feed my family? We now had bill collectors 



Dick DeVos. Guest Speakers. Stock No. 97-9 Copyright Internet Services Corporation 



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calling us sometimes twice a day, which added to our daily stress. We were fearful to go 
out in our own community. It was like a strange land to us now, and we were very 
uncomfortable with it. 

There was never either an acknowledgement or response from Dick DeVos or his 
office staff. I did, however, receive a letter from Dan Bailey dated June 24, 1999, stating 
that indeed they were shutting my income off. They were not keeping it; they were just 
"putting it in escrow". They also advised me that they were going to begin taking 10% of 
the money I was not getting and paying it to a Direct as a forced servicing fee. Although 
we received no money from the global business that we had developed, Amway decided 
to begin paying Kerry and Chris 10% of it every month, thereby, eliminating any need for 
them to want to reasonably negotiate a trumped-up servicing agreement. They began to 
get paid from our escrowed funds, and we stopped paying on our mortgages. Free 
enterprise is a wonderful thing. Rich DeVos had written a highly touted book called 
Compassionate Capitalism. Was this his version of compassionate capitalism? 

We began to worry about how we would feed our children. I was stunned and in 
shock. I truly did not believe that they could be quite so evil. Our upline was probably 
dancing with glee, as we were further punished and humiliated. 

I was so angry and ashamed. I had just gone to my father a few months ago and 
borrowed over $10,000 to bring many bills current. We had been paying him and his wife 
Kelly monthly. I now had to default on payments to them, after I had lured them into 
Amway and extracted money from them for Amway products and system tapes. I did not 
know how I would ever face them again. More than anything, I had wanted to make them 
both proud of me. I felt like I was a total and complete failure to all who knew me. 

I was now drowning in an image of the blood of good people being washed over 
my head, as I learned how many more were getting deeper into The Business and were 
being further seduced to buy large amounts of constantly changing tools, tapes, CD's, 
laptops, and videos for the upcoming launch of the Amway owner's Internet company, 
Quixtar. It was slick, sexy, and high tech, and I believed many more millions of 
distributors would be recruited. The new high-tech venture was mixed with the same 
mind-numbing combination of the system, patriotism, religion, and loyalty that overtook 
us. 

My research continued as I learned of the enormous sums of money that Amway, 
its founders, and distributors contributed to the Republican Party. A Texas paper reported 
in a 1997 article entitled "Amway Has Voice in Congress" that Amway and "its top 
leaders have contributed at least $4 million to the Republican Party during the past four 
years" 3 The article later went on to state: 

Of course, it helps that Amway has its own caucus in Congress. 
Yes, the Amway caucus. Five Republican House members are also 
Amway distributors: Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina; Jon Christensen 
of Nebraska; Dick Chrysler of Michigan; Richard Rombo of California; 
and John Ensign of Nevada. Their informal caucus meets several times a 
year with Amway bigwigs to discuss policy matters affecting the 
company, including China's trade status. 

House Majority Whip Tom Delay, a onetime Amway salesman, 
also remains close to the company. Mother Jones magazine, which has 



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followed Amway's shenanigans closely, reported last fall that Myrick 
owes her election to the company - almost half of her total campaign 
funds came from Amway people. 4 

The Charlotte Observer reported that Dexter Yager "helped 
Republican - and Amway distributor - Sue Myrick raise about $200,000 
from distributors, the Yager family and employees. 5 

The Amway yachts are used to entertain and host influential individuals that may 
be friendly to 'the cause.' Published reports placed, now President elect, George W. 
Bush, on an Amway yacht in the Philadelphia harbor during the 2000 Republican 
Convention. Jeff Birnbaum, from Fortune magazine, was interviewed by Brit Hume on 
the Fox news, and they discussed how large sums of money are being raised for a new 
committee called the Republican Majority Issues Committee. Hume asked who the 
possible contributors may be and Birnbaum responded: 

"Well, I was told about a Delay briefing on the republican Majority 
Issues Committee on the yacht of Dick and Betsy DeVos (ph). Dick 
DeVos is the president of Amway Corporation, a very big contributor to 
conservative and Republican causes. He could certainly pony up some 
money." 6 A Boston paper reported on Rich DeVos in that "The founder of 
Amway Corp. and his wife gave $1 million to the Republican Party last 
month, one of the biggest single contributions ever made by an individual 
donor." 7 

The Republican Party seems to be an off-site division of the Amway Corporation. 
In addition to direct contributions, many politicians garnered huge fees for speaking at 
large seminars and singing the praises of Amway, America, and Free Enterprise. Amway 
groups have had the support of such speakers as Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, George 
Bush, Sr., Jack Kemp and many others. Former President Gerald Ford even spoke very 
highly of Amway. A former distributor told me that George Bush, Sr. may have been 
paid as much as $100,000 to come and speak at a single seminar for Amway distributors. 
Newt Gingrich was known to sing Amway's praises at large Amway rallies across the 
nation. I met Newt when he spoke to thousands of distributors at a large rally in Hershey, 
PA. At this seminar, Newt Gingrich said: 

"Nothing would do more to help the people that used to live in 
what was called the Soviet empire to achieve prosperity, to achieve 
freedom, to achieve opportunity than to have sixty or seventy 
thousand Amway folks go over there and start recruiting" 

USA Today ran an interesting article on Mr. Gingrich, stating that the former 



After All We Are Americans audiotape Newt Gingrich CE-50 Copyright 
unknown 



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Speaker of the House of Representatives raked in a windfall fee of "$50,000 a speech." 
Could those large amounts of money actually be considered an investment for Amway or 
its motivational organizations? The answer to that question would soon be evident. One 
report discussed a "$283 million payoff' 9 for Amway' s campaign contributions. It 
described a new budget package that was amended by an apparent friend of Amway. 
"The payoff for Amway was not in the original House or Senate version of the tax bill. 
House Speaker Newt Gingrich intervened at the last minute to help get the special tax 
break inserted in the bill." 10 The book The Buying of the Congress sheds more light on 
this sweetheart deal: 

It could not have hurt that from 1994 to 1996 Amway gave 
$366,000 to Republican Party causes and candidates and that it employs 
Roger Mentz, who was the Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax policy in 
the Reagan Administration, as its tax lobbyist. 11 

The more I learned, the greater the deterioration of my psychological well-being. I 
was overwhelmed by the contrast of wealthy, apparently corrupt billionaire getting a 
$283 million dollar tax break for their company, while I was struggling to find food 
money for my family after telling the truth. Goliath's shadow seemed bigger than ever. 



Creatures from the Black Lagoon 

The panic attacks and nightmares came back, and Kathy and I were so shell 
shocked that we walked through each day like zombies. Survival was now a one-day-at- 
a-time goal for both of us. We had no idea how to communicate, after being silent for so 
long concerning our real feelings. She was able to tell me that she was angry at herself for 
not jumping up and down and shouting about how much she hated our life. She told me 
that she had hated our life for years and never trusted Zack. I, too, had hated our life but 
had no idea what was wrong during the last few years. She was angry with me for 
continuing against all odds. She was angry with herself for sometimes encouraging me, 
because the encouragement was what often kept me going. She knew I was doing it for 
her and the kids but was unimaginably hurt for literally being abandoned for years. She 
was a single mom, an Amway widow. It was so confusing when my love for my family 
was used against me to keep me out and away from them constantly. 

I told her that I would have stopped had she let me know how she felt. We were 
now shouting. She told me that if she gave me the choice between her and Amway, I 
would have chosen Amway. I was now screaming that that was insane and that I loved 
her and that was why I did it. I calmed down after a while, and I realized that she was 
right. It was all so sick. Had she given me the choice between her and Amway, I probably 
would have gotten an apartment and worked non-stop to go Diamond to prove how much 
I loved her. That was crushing. I felt like I was entering a twilight zone. The torrent of 
conflicting, screaming thoughts returned. I had destroyed the very person I loved the 
most in a business that was supposed to give us income and family time. I had lost almost 
everything I had been promised. 

I needed help desperately, but I did not know where to turn. I was in a cave of 



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darkness. I could barely decide whether to eat or what to wear at times. I went down to 
our swimming hole and smoked a cigar with my only trusted friends — the gun, a can of 
mace, and a beer. I prayed for death. I had ruined all that I had hoped for my entire life. 
All I wanted was to be successful enough to be a good father and husband. I was 
worthless. In the depths of the deepest despair, I decided there was no God. I renounced 
my salvation. If there even was a God, I would curse Him. I was utterly and completely 
hopeless. I told no one of this but was obviously no longer qualified to strap on my 
concealed gun and teach adult Sunday school. 

Feeling broken and hopeless, I thought I was losing both my mind and family at 
the same time. I appeared to lose most of my sense of taste, and I saw everything almost 
in a subdued black and white. I never knew such a darkness even existed. I cried often for 
no reason. After it started happening in public, I knew that I was falling apart; yet I was 
obsessed with exposing this horror. We were going into foreclosure. I learned of other 
distributors who alleged that they had gone bankrupt, lost their homes, or gotten divorced 
as a result of their experiences as Amway distributors. I used to laugh at "losers" that said 
those kinds of things. Now, I was one of them. 

I discovered that the cultish abuses and fraudulent business practices were global 
in scope. Through the Internet, I was able to make contact with many former distributors. 
I documented nearly identical systematic abuses in many countries. I became a low- 
profile member of an Internet underground of former distributors that shared information 
and encouragement. I contacted a few people myself, and some were sent to me for help, 
as they attempted to deprogram from their Amway motivational comas. One woman had 
just come from a Cult Wellness center called Wellspring. Her life had been destroyed in 
nearly every sense by her Amway experience. We offered each other encouragement and 
intuitively understood what the other was going through. 

I continued to contact plaintiffs and their attorneys to offer high-level, insider 
testimony and documentation. I was talking to a current plaintiff when I received the 
most chilling news to date. He asked me if I had heard about the murder. I told him I had 
not. He asked me if I was familiar with the Morrison lawsuit in Texas. I was well aware 
of that suit, because it was one of the largest in Amway 's history and involved high-level 
distributors like myself. 

Dr. Joe Morrison was a spokesperson for the group of 29 complainants, most of 
who were at the Emerald level. They collectively were seeking over $200 million in 
damages. The number of distributors in the group had been estimated near as many as 
40,000. Among the plaintiffs were three doctors, a chiropractor, and other professionals. 
Many of these people had left their full time careers, just as I had done. In a press release 
issued by their attorneys, Dr. Morrison made the following statements. 

This lawsuit has been filed, because there is something rotten in 
the Amway organization. We have tried unsuccessfully to work out our 
complaint with Amway and others through the system, but it only gets 
worse. We had no choice but to take this step. 

It is truly ironic that we have found out the overriding principle 
this company has preached so hard-integrity-is the quality that has been 
largely absent in the past, bringing us to this stage. 



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We all thought that Amway was the key to our future, and the 
future of our families. We worked as hard as anyone, and did what we 
were told to help our business grow. In the end, though, we weren't ready 
to sacrifice our own integrity to enhance our business. 

We all thought we were going to be living the American dream, if 
only we worked hard enough. What we found out is that if we allowed the 
wrong to continue, it would be really more the American nightmare. 

On 8/13/98, the judge in this case ordered it into Amway's forced binding 
arbitration and silence. When I spoke with the offices of one of the Attorneys involved, I 
was advised that they were shocked by this action, as some of the plaintiffs involved had 
never even signed the form. They were vigorously appealing this decision. 

The person who had asked me if I had knowledge of this case had heard that one 
of the defendant's children had been kidnapped and killed in a possible attempt to get 
them to drop the suit. This sounded even too far out for me. It was reported by an 
individual who was very close to many of the Amway scandals and lawsuits. I called him 
and explained that I was a renegade Emerald and that I had discovered all the problems 
that he knew about already. Once he was comfortable that I was who I said I was, I asked 
him about this alleged murder. He not only had heard of it, but gave me the name of the 
convicted killer on death row. The name was Hilton Crawford. I asked him about the 
circumstances, and he did not know firsthand, but had heard from multiple sources in 
Texas that the original target was Dr. Joe Morrison's family. He had heard that on a 
seminar day, Dr. Morrison's house had been broken into, but no one was home. The 
murderer, he heard, went to another home and kidnapped, beat, and shot another 
distributor's child. I was shocked but tried to remain calm. As I began my own 
investigation, I did not even want to allow myself to believe that this could be true. 

I researched this myself and eventually found factual information in The Dallas 
Morning News. The paper reported that Hilton Crawford was convicted of murder and 
sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing a 12-year-old boy named McKay Everett in 
a botched extortion attempt. Chillingly, the newspaper reported, "McKay was abducted 
from his Conroe home Sept. 12, while his parents were attending an Amway meeting. He 
was beaten and shot, and his body was dumped in a Louisiana swamp." 12 

I was in total disbelief and did not know if there really was a tie into the Morrison 
case but believed that possibly Amway and/or Yager operatives were fully capable of 
being involved in something like that. Just how low would they stoop? Murder? 

I grieved for the poor family. They, too, were away at a meeting, hoping to 
improve their lives for their family's sake, and what they loved most was stolen from 
them. This could happen to any Amway distributor, as their schedules were so 
predictable. At least one night a month, they were away for a local open meeting at a 
hotel. One entire Saturday a month, most were normally away for a whole day and 
evening seminar. Their schedules were an open book and an open invitation to predators. 

I took and have maintained extraordinary security measures to protect my family 
that will not be discussed in this book. I had told the FBI about my own death threat and 
felt it was very real. They took the Diamond's name and address that had made the threat. 



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They also requested copies of cancelled checks that had been made out to Kerry and 
Chris as well as Walters International (Zack's business name). 

I felt certain that I was going to be killed. The terror was intense. There was too 
much money at stake. I became nearly insane with paranoia. When I walked alone, I 
walked in a stagger step, as I knew that kind of a gait made it more difficult for snipers. I 
was ready at any moment for my bullet. This was insane. 

I had told too many people that I was going to expose everything. I had told too 
many people that I might write a book. One day, I was walking our children down near 
our swimming hole, when Grace, an older neighbor, stopped and began talking to us. She 
was always walking and was a delight to talk to. We shared pleasantries for a moment 
and then it happened. We both instinctively winced as a staccato of gunfire erupted from 
behind us. I arched my back toward them and tensed, looking her in the eye as the bullets 
ripped through my flesh. Somehow, I had thought it was going to hurt more than that. 
Time froze. I realized that this poor woman and my children were about to watch me 
bleed to death. The kids were okay. I was the target. Thank God, she would take them 
home. It would all be over in an instant. 

The 'gunshots' were firecrackers set off by kids on a small walking bridge behind 
us. She jumped a little, laughed, and continued on her way. I turned the other way and 
was gasping for air. My chest was heaving uncontrollably. I could not catch my breath. 

There was no end to the torment. I could tell no one of the events in my now 
seemingly insane world. I caught my breath after about fifteen minutes and joined the 
kids who were already down playing by the water. I heard nothing they said. They were 
so sweet, but I could not even hear their voices over the mounting clamor in my mind. I 
did not know what was happening or maybe I did. . . 



Reach Out and Touch 

I reached out for help and attempted to locate Ashley Wilkes, the formerly 'evil' 
web site owner. He no longer seemed evil to me. There was no way to contact him 
through his web site, but I learned of where he worked and tracked him down through his 
employer. We corresponded by e-mail, and I thanked him repeatedly for helping deliver 
me from the bowels of deception. He, too, had paid an enormous price as a distributor. 
He felt that it had cost him his marriage, because his wife left him and was now living 
with a man that would help her to build The Business. Ashley had lost custody of his 
precious daughter, Ruby, and it pained him greatly. 

We set up a time to talk, and we bonded immediately from our shared Amway 
experiences. He had been in Amway in a completely different motivational organization, 
but the deceptions and lies were identical. I read a transcript of the plan his upline did, 
and he used the exact same joke I did to make a point. We talked and laughed when I told 
him that I had fantasized about meeting him and beating the crap out of him for being a 
negative loser and for taking shots at my upline. He shared how he felt like a total failure. 
I encouraged him by telling him that he was far from being a loser and that one-day Ruby 
would know and recognize him as a hero. He wept openly on the phone, and I cried too. 
It was such an avalanche of emotions. It was a comfort to speak with someone who 
understood. 



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He, too, was under siege from Amway in the form of a legal process. They were 
draining his nearly non-existent resources in an apparent attempt to get him to shut his 
web site down by tying him up with subpoenas for his computer hard drive at home and 
work. Ashley informed me that his legal bills were near $14,000 by the time they were 
done with him. When he could afford no more legal fees or psychological strain, he had 
to allow Amway access to his computer hard drive. He also had to shut down his web 
site. This was terrifying to me, as his hard drive may still have had many emails from me 
on it. Big Brother was alive. 

It appeared that Amway had to "hit squads" that would take you down financially 
if you spoke against them. The first I had plenty of experience with. Amway 's Rule and 
Conduct Department, headed by Dan Bailey, seemed to have no qualms at all about 
starving us into submission by cutting our sole income off. The second seems to be an 
external legal hit team that is a law firm called Warner, Norcross & Judd LLP in Grand 
Rapids, Michigan. Their point man for these issues was an Attorney named Norbert 
Kugele. He is the attorney who caused Ashley Wilkes (and many others) to incur massive 
legal bills and personal stress beyond comprehension. Who would do this for a living? 
From what I heard, he seemed to be a monster in a suit. Little did I know, I would meet 
him face to face when Kathy and I would be sucked into yet another Amway legal action. 
Ashley had helped many people like myself to "deprogram". He offered this service for 
free to any who contacted him. It was a therapy to him to help others as he felt almost 
defenseless in stopping this burgeoning, dark predator. To shut down his site and not be 
able to help people was a crushing blow to him. 

Ashley became a close friend, mentor, and confidant. We had much in common. 
The greater the personal destruction that was heaped upon us, the greater our resolve 
became to stop the harm being done. He proved to be a tremendous resource to me, as I 
uncovered more and more about 'The Business.' At times we felt strong but most of the 
time we felt entirely helpless against this towering dark force that was coming against us. 
He mentioned that there was quite a bit of information on Amway and cult mind-control 
techniques that were being used on distributors. It sounded a little far out there, but I 
listened. 

I shared this idea with some of our friends who had quit and explained that there 
might be some type of mind control involved with The Business. In a few days, one 
called and told me to turn on a talk show named Leeza. I turned on the television and 
tuned into the show. It was, indeed, about cults and destructive mind-control techniques. 

There were two guests on the show. One was a well-spoken woman named 
Deborah Layton, who wrote the book Seductive Poison after being in the Jim Jones cult, 
which resulted in 913 tragic deaths in Guyana in 1978. She was one of the few survivors. 
Her mother had died there. Some of the deceptions she talked about had vague 
similarities to situations that had occurred to us in Amway, but I knew that I had not been 
in a cult. 

The other guest was a gentleman named Dick Joslyn who had been one of the few 
surviving members of the Heaven's Gate cult. He, too, was very articulate and said 
something that caused the audience to mock him. He said something to the effect that any 
one of them could be recruited into a destructive cult. They jeered him, as I silently 
disagreed. I was too smart for that. When the audience quieted down, he made a point 
that altered the course of my life. He told the audience something that they had not 



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understood. He explained that cults do not recruit stupid, weak people. They recruit 
smart, ambitious, well-meaning people, who would in turn recruit others. A red flag went 
up. We had always been told to sponsor up. Sponsoring up meant to recruit the sharpest, 
most credible people you knew, as others would come into The Business quickly based 
upon their credibility. I was not jumping up and down yet, but there were some parallels 
that I needed to explore. 

It was strange. I could tell that I had flashes of clarity and then, without rhyme or 
reason, I fell off the deep end. As I watched that show, I was able to think clearly, and I 
acted quickly. After some quick web-based research, I ordered the books Seductive 
Poison and Cults in our Midst. I also began to do preliminary research on a man named 
Steve Hassan. His name came up quite frequently. He had been a former high-level 
"Moonie" in the Unification Church, a group that former members had branded as a cult. 

The books were helpful. Seductive Poison was informative, as the author 
described how she was seduced into the cult by deception through the charismatic 
leadership of Jim Jones. There seemed to be several parallels between her experience in 
leadership in the Jones cult and our experiences as young leaders in Amway. Jim Jones 
had used the credibility of then California State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, as well 
as that of President Carter's wife, Roslyn, in building his own image. He demanded total 
loyalty from his followers, who thought of him as a father. He even had "a makeshift 
goon squad to enforce his perverted will." 13 Jones also had a habit of keeping his 
followers off balance. They both loved and feared him at the same time. This was 
sounding too familiar. 

Cults in Our Midst, was even more informative in relation to my experience. 
Below I will quote bits of text that seemed to jump off the pages at me, as I devoured this 
book. 

Others have thousands of members, operate multinational 
businesses, and control complex multimillion- if not multi billion dollar 
organizations. Cults are not always easy to recognize at first glance. 1 

Readers should know that a number of cults are highly litigious 
and use their wealth and power to harass and curb critics. Citizens, 
academics, journalists, former cult members and their parents, and 
publications ranging from Time magazine to the Journal of the American 
Medical Association have been the targets of legal suits brought by 
various wealthy cults in efforts to intimidate and silence critics. Defending 
himself or herself against the false accusations made by some of these 
cults can break the ordinary person. It appears that winning is not the most 
important goal for the cults. Their motivation appears rather to be to 
harass, financially destroy, and silence criticism. 15 

Cult leaders tend to be determined and domineering and are often 
described as charismatic. These leaders need to have enough personal 
drive, charm or other pulling power to attract, control, and manage their 
flocks. They persuade devotees to drop their families, jobs, careers, and 



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friends to follow them. Overtly or covertly, in most cases they eventually 
take over control of their followers' possessions, money and lives 



16 



Cults are authoritarian in structure. The leader is regarded as the 
supreme authority, although he may delegate certain power to a few 
subordinates for the purpose of seeing that members adhere to his wishes 
and rules. There is no appeal outside of the leader's system to greater 
systems of justice. 17 

Other groups want to recruit members into pay-as-you-go 
programs and, therefore, target employed persons with money-making 
skills, to whom the cults will sell "courses," gradually hooking these 
people into greater and greater commitment to the group, as well as selling 
them more and more expensive courses. 1 

The key to successful thought reform is to keep the subjects 
unaware that they are being manipulated and controlled — and especially to 
keep them unaware that they are being moved along a path of change that 
will lead them to serve interests that are to their disadvantage. The usual 
outcome of thought-reform processes is that a person or group gains 
almost limitless control over the subjects for varying periods of time. 19 

Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure 
that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership 
approval or executive order. If you criticize or complain, the leader or 
peers allege that you are defective, not the organization. In this closed 
system of logic, you are not allowed to question or doubt a tenet or rule or 
to call attention to factual information that suggests some internal 
contradiction within the belief system or a contradiction with what you 
have been told. 20 

In particular, when you question, you may be made to look 
ridiculous and called a renegade, a spy, an agent, a nonbeliever, or Satan, 
or whatever disparaging terms are used in your particular group. There's 
always an internal language with terms to ridicule or denigrate. In some 
way, you are made to feel bad for doubting or questioning. You're 
convinced by the closed logic of the cult and by peer pressure that to 
question means you don't believe enough. So you stop questioning. 21 

Exhaustion and confusion increase cult member's inability to act. 
In most groups, members are made to work morning, noon and night. It's 
no wonder they become exhausted and unable to think straight. 22 

In this context, to think about leaving becomes completely 
overwhelming. If escape even crosses your mind, you think - where would 
I go? What would I do? Who would accept me? You have lost so much 



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self esteem that the thought of leaving is unbearable. You can't imagine 
abandoning your protected little universe to go out into the horrible world 
that all the time you've been trained to believe is the other, the evil, the 
bourgeois society, or of Satan. The non-believers are not going to accept 
you. The minute they find out that you were in "that," you are going to die 
on the spot or be chased away. Nobody would hire you; nobody would 
want you; you will never have a relationship. You are a loser. 23 

Then, back at the cult, they are denounced and defiled. They are 
entered on a roster of enemies and non-people. Horrendous lies are told 
about them to reinforce the cult's line on why they are no longer members. 
Such denunciation is not a pleasant prospect for someone thinking of 
leaving. The pariah image takes on enormous proportions and coming to 
fit that image seems a fate worse than death. 24 

Thank you Margaret and Janja. Thank you so much. You were angels of mercy. I 
was not insane. Maybe I wasn't a loser. Maybe I did not deserve death. They are two 
people I hope to meet, if not work with one day. Their work, in part, saved my life. I was 
far from healthy but now had a small glimmer of hope. I was still in bad shape but 
continued my cult research with incredible vigor while having 'healthy' days. 

I discovered the work of Robert Fitzpatrick while researching the legal aspects of 
Amway and the system. He is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker and author on 
distribution trends. His work involves evaluating factors of trust, ethics and integrity in 
distribution channels. He co-authored False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual 
Deliverance in Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes. This book revealed much 
of what I had discovered in the Amway organization. However, his book brought my 
purpose more clearly into focus, because it revealed the deceptions that are often an 
integral part of these businesses. 

Robert wrote another small book that specifically addressed Amway entitled, The 
Case for Reopening the Amway Pyramid Scheme Case. This book is not written for the 
mass audience as it addresses, in great detail, the legal issues and FTC rulings involved. It 
is written specifically for regulators, attorneys, journalists, talk show hosts and business 
leaders whose work requires sorting out finance from fraud. I located a copy at 
www.falseprofits.com and subsequently provided it to the FBI agent that I was working 
with. This detailed why my book had to be written. Someone had to stand up to protect 
the many silent victims. 



"Victims are rendered silent out of shame, 
embarrassment or guilt. In Multi-level Marketing programs, 
many are kept silent by being convinced that they are not 
victims of a scam but only of their personal failures. Failure, 
they have been told by the promoters, is attributable to their 
own weak character, lack of ambition, negative thinking, 
inadequate commitment, unhealthy fear or pathological 



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attachments to poverty. Little wonder they do not rush to the 
Better Business Bureau, to newspapers or their state Attorney 
General to announce they have lost their money." 

- Robert L. FitzPatrick' 



The leads, I now had, made it easy to learn a great deal about Steve Hassan, who 
is an expert in cultism and in rescuing people from the psychological meat hooks that 
gripped people in cults. I went to his web site, www.freedomofmind.com and was both 
shocked and elated by what I learned there. On his web site, under the Common 
Psychological Problems of Victims of Cult Mind Control Section, 25 is a listing of 
seventeen symptoms. 

Out of all the symptoms listed for cult members, I had all but one. I was both 
shell-shocked and wonderfully surprised to find information that led me to believe that I 
might make it. 

I found other information on Steve that enabled me to be willing to take the 
chance and trust him. At that point, I trusted no one but Kathy. Steve Hassan had been a 
high level Moonie recruiter in the Unification Church. He had personal contacts with 
leader and multi-millionaire industrialist Sun Young Moon. He, like me, was recruited 
into the group by deception. He was love-bombed and told how sharp he was in the initial 
recruitment phase. He eventually was indoctrinated to cut all social contacts outside of 
the group and believed he was part of a great good for the world. He, too, had his male 
leader replace his own blood father while in the cult. He described it as follows, 

In looking back and analyzing the relationship, I see that I allowed 
Kamiyama to take the place of my father. The kind of verbal approval and 
physical affection I sought from my father was given to me by this man, 
who used this emotional leverage to motivate and control me. 26 



"We're parents to our downlines... We take the 
knowledge we learned the hard way and give it to our people. 
And we help them mature in the business until they become 
our peers. They pass their knowledge on to their 'sons and 
daughters/ and soon we have our 'grandchildren' and 'great 
grandchildren' in the business." 

- Amway Crown Bill Britt' 



As Steve progressed through the ranks, his experiences in many ways paralleled 
those of mine as an Emerald in Amway. Being an Emerald was an elite status, and few 



' FitzPatrick, Robert L. False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-Level 
Marketing and Pyramid Schemes . Copyright 1999 

' Britt, Bill Profiles of Success. Copyright American Multimedia, Inc. 



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ever attained it in comparison to the number of distributors recruited. Mr. Hassan 
describes his rise as follows, 

Although I had never liked being in groups before, my elite status in 
this group made me feel special. Because of my relationship with 
Kamiyama, I had access to the Messiah himself — Sun Myung 
Moon — who was the ultimate father figure. 27 



He made another statement that sounded as if he knew Dexter and Zack. He 



wrote, 



Mr. Moon and Mr. Kamiyama knew how to cultivate their 
disciples to be loyal and well disciplined. Members of the core leadership 
were trained to follow his orders without question or hesitation. Once I 
had become totally indoctrinated, all I wanted to do was to follow my 
central figure's instructions. I was so committed that I had suppressed the 
real me with my new identity. Whenever I look back now, I am amazed at 
how I was manipulated and how I manipulated others "in the name of 
God." 28 

Steve revealed that The Washington Times was a Moon-connected enterprise. I 
was surprised to learn of it, because that was the newspaper that Ronald Reagan said he 
read every day. The Freedom of Mind e-mail newsletter recently broke the story on a 
Moonie enterprise purchase of UPI. It stated that, 

Buying UPI gets a seat with the President of the United States 
aboard Air Force One. Buying UPI gets editorial control over what stories 
get written and how. Anyone who believes that the Moonies have never 
exerted editorial influence over the Washington Times should speak with 
James Whelan, founding editor of the paper. He quit along with the 
editorial page editor years ago, because they said they had no editorial 
independence. 

Moon has reportedly spent over one billion dollars to operate The 
Washington Times in D.C. since first acquiring it. The newspaper loses 
millions of dollars each month, but apparently buys lots of legitimacy and 
clout. U.S. President Ronald Reagan endorsed the Washington Times. 
Later, George Bush received a reported two million dollars to do speaking 
engagements for Moon owned entities throughout the world. 29 

Steve provided invaluable documentation to a congressional subcommittee that 
was investigating the Unification Church's activities. The documentation he provided 
was a copy of the "Master Speaks, a set of private speeches by Moon reserved for 
Unification Church leaders and members" 30 Incredibly, I had copies of the secretive, 
leaders-invite-only YNMI seminar tapes. One of the tapes that I am making public is one 
by Dexter Yager, entitled "Teachings from the Master." It was so bizarre. It was my life; 
yet I could barely believe what I was learning. I not only might have been in a cult, I 



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could possibly have been a cult leader. The more I learned about cults and destructive 
mind-control techniques, the more clearly I saw what was done to us and countless 
others. It certainly explained the rampant confusion in our group when I revealed the 
truth. That explained the enormous slander and now financial bullying we were enduring. 
I felt certain now, that to some degree, Kathy and I had endured a cult experience. 
I studied more about Mr. Hassan. His family rescued him from the cult, after having an 
accident while in a total state of exhaustion. He suffered a severe fracture of his leg, but it 
gave his family a chance to get him away from the cult. His exodus from the Moonies 
was nearly word for word identical to what Kathy and I had been going through. He went 
on to describe his exodus by saying, 

How could I believe that the Messiah was a multimillionaire 
industrialist from Korea? How could I have turned my back on virtually 
every moral and ethical principle I had? How could I have done so many 
cruel things to so many people? The fantasy that I had used to inspire 
myself day after day and month after month was gone. What was left was 
a frightened, confused, yet proud person. I felt as though I had awakened 
from a dream and wasn't sure what was reality, or as though I had stepped 
off a skyscraper and was headed toward the earth but never crashed. 

I was overwhelmed by many emotions. I was sad and missed my 
friends in the group, particularly my "spiritual children," the people I 
recruited. I missed the excitement of feeling that what I was doing was 
cosmically important. I missed the feeling that single-mindedness brought. 
Now, all I knew was that my leg was broken. I felt tremendous 
embarrassment about having fallen for a cult. My parents told me it was a 
cult. Why hadn't I listened to them? Why hadn't I trusted them? It was 
weeks before I could thank my parents for helping me. It was months 
before I could even refer to the Moonies as a cult. 

I read for months. For me, the burning issue was how the Moonies 
had ever managed to convert me and indoctrinate me so thoroughly that I 
could no longer think for myself. I read everything I could get my hands 
on. At first, the act of reading itself was extremely difficult. I had read 
only Moon literature for more than two years. I had difficulty 
concentrating and was sometimes spaced out for long periods, not 
comprehending what I was reading. 31 

I was elated. Not because of the pain he had gone through, far from it! I finally 
had some answers! It is about three in the morning, and as usual, I was down on my 
computer doing research. I typed up a lengthy letter and faxed it to Mr. Hassan to thank 
him for all the work he has done in exposing cults and as a cult exit counselor. This new 
information, combined with what I learned from Margaret and Janja, had given me a 
small measure of peace. He, too, played a large role in saving my life. This role was soon 
to expand greatly. I did not know what to do next. 

How was I supposed to tell Kathy the 'good news' that we have been in a cult for 
almost a decade? I knew it all sounded strange, even though I knew it was true. I felt so 



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stupid. People left cults broken, destitute, and in silence. They were like the rape victims 
who would rather go away quietly than to have everyone know about the violation. 
Worse yet was the condemning stigma that their own actions might have caused the rape 
in the first place. Cult victims often carry the same burden of judgment for their own 
victimization. 



Forbes 12/09/91 "The Power of Positive Inspiration" Klebnikov, P. 



2 Ibid. 

3 San Antonio Express-News August 12,1997 "Amway Has Voice in Congress" Molly Ivans 

4 Ibid. 

5 The Charlotte Observer "Amway The Yager Way" March 19, 1995 Jim Morrill and Nancy Stancill 

6 Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume 05/20/99 Copyright Federal Document Clearing House 

7 Boston Globe, "Amway Founder, Wife give SIM to GOP," May 24, 1997 page A5 Associated Press 

8 USA Today Feb 09, 2000 p 21 A "Gingrich Out of office, but hardly out of ideas" William M. Welch 

9 San Antonio Express-News August 12,1997 "Amway Has Voice in Congress" Molly Ivans 
"Ibid. 



The Buying of the Congress Charles Lewis Copyright 1998 by The Center for Public Integrity 

The Dallas Morning News, 07/25/96 Associated Press 

Seductive Poison Deborah Layton, An Anchor Book, Copyright 1998 Deborah Layton p xxiii 

Cults in Our Midst, Margaret Thaler Singer with Janja Lalich, copyright 1995 

Ibid., page xxIII in intro 

Ibid., page 8 
7 Ibid., page 9 

Ibid., page 22 

Ibid., page52 

Ibid., page68 

Ibid., page269 

Ibid., page270 

Ibid., page272 

Ibid., page273 

www.shassan.com/problems.htm 

Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steve Hassan, copyright 1988, 1990 

Ibid., page20 

Ibid., page21 

Freedom of Mind e-mail list May 16, 2000 

Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steve Hassan, copyright 1988, 1990 
31 Ibid., page30 



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CHAPTER 15 



The Truth Will 
Set You Free 



"The similarity between Amway and the Moonies is so 
profound that one wonders if the two are in cahoots. Maybe 
at the top of the ladder they scratch each other's backs." 

- Stephen Butterfield' 



What a wonderful surprise when Mr. Hassan called me from his office in Boston. 
He insisted that I call him Steve. He is a kind and gentle man. He was glad that his efforts 
had helped me, and we talked at length about the similarities of our cult experiences. His 
call was a very kind gesture, after all Kathy and I had endured. I promised to keep in 
touch and let Steve know how we were doing. I also kept in touch with Ashley Wilkes, 
and that seemed to help. I felt so badly for Kathy, as she had almost no one to talk to and 
was alone in her experience. Her only way of surviving this was to simply shut down 
emotionally. I had to let her find her own way. She had been told who to be, what to do, 
what to feel, and how to think for too long. It broke my heart not be able to help her. I 
agonized for her as she suffered silently, alone with her thoughts. 

Amway continued to financially starve the life from us. One month went by with 
no income, then two, then three and four. We lost our medical insurance. We were going 
to lose the house soon. Friends fed us and brought groceries over to our house. We still 
were conditioned not to "pass negative" and told almost no one how bad our situation 
was becoming. I mentioned to Steve the problems Kathy and I were experiencing with 
regard to open communication after having followed the "never pass negative Cardinal 
Rule" for so long. He had heard that the Moonies had a nearly identical principle called 
'Multiplication of The Evils.' If you repeated negative information, which was of course 
inherently evil, you had multiplied the evil. Those were nearly identical techniques that 
effectively suppressed the communication of any beliefs or information contrary to the 
cults' doctrine. 

At one time, I had held our little church in contempt, as more people came to the 
Lord at Amway distributor seminar services than in the church. Guess who came to our 
aid when we were down and out? Our precious little church provided us with a check that 
bought us food for over a month. I had been led to believe that Kathy 's parents and my 
four parents were all naive people. We had been warned not to take advice from them or 
other well-meaning people. They all came to our aide with financial assistance in the 
process. 



' Butterfield, Stephen. Amway, The Cult of Free Enterprise . Copyright 1985, page 149. 



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My mother and her husband had almost nothing financially, but in a visit to our 
home, they made us a loan that kept our home from going to tax sale. We were 
overwhelmed at their kindness and will be forever grateful for their compassion. Kathy's 
parents also loaned us large sums of money to help out. They were so kind. I felt as if I 
had let them down terribly. They had trusted me with their beautiful daughter, and I was 
so ashamed of the pathetic life I had given her. 

My faith in God was being restored. I quickly came to believe that perhaps God 
had been there all along, and He is a God of new beginnings — even when we desert Him. 
He is a constant protector and an unconditional God who loves us and keeps His 
promises. He is certainly not the God of success that was used to promote Amway. 
People who had lost thousands of dollars in Amway and who had quit The Business 
helped us with gifts of meat for our freezer. We received anonymous cash in the mail that 
seemed to come when there was nothing much left in the refrigerator. 

One Silver Direct couple, Taylor and Suzanne, who had lost well over $10,000 on 
their Amway business, traded in jewelry and a small sailboat as a down payment for a 
used car when ours died. They had nothing yet they gave what they had after we had 
helped lead them to financial slaughter. We were overwhelmed with gratitude and the 
contrasting goodness in these people. Ashley Wilkes, who was broke after having 
exhausted his funds for his Amway legal bills, took a cash advance on a credit card and 
sent us $300 to buy food with. I cried when it came. We had never even met in person. 
He became a true brother to me and we referred to each as "Bro" in most of our 
communications. The goodness of humanity was burned upon my heart. 

Even with all the generosity from others, we still were completely destitute, had 
no jobs, no medical insurance, and were losing our home. Amway was a wonderful 
business wasn't it? Our upline still refused to sign a servicing agreement to "service our 
group" and repurchase the tools they had sold to me. They initially had asked for ten 
percent to do this. Then they increased their demands to 15%. They seemed to become 
more arrogant and abusive in their demands as our situation deteriorated. 

Now picture yourself in our shoes for a minute. I am not an author but a regular 
person just like you, with the desire to take care of my family. Imagine not knowing 
where food money is going to come from. Our cupboards were nearly bare, and my 
beautiful wife and three children were looking to me for protection and support. Old cars, 
that were barely safe, were in our driveway. Foreclosure loomed ahead, and bankruptcy 
had already been declared. Money was owed to nearly everyone we knew and loved. All 
we had to do was "sell" The Business and most likely sign a lengthy non-disclosure/ 
secrecy agreement, and all our financial problems would go away. Better yet, we could 
go into binding arbitration with the BSMAA agreement we were blackmailed into 
signing. There most likely would be an enormous check, based upon all the extensive 
documentation of abuse, fraud, and misrepresentation we had collected. All we had to do 
was agree to never speak of it again. 

How much would your silence be worth? Could you rescue your family from a 
burning building and walk away while many others, unaware of the danger, burned to 
death? What if it was a big check, I mean lots of money? How much would it take to 
drown out the screams? "Make it easy on yourself, pal, your wife and kids need you to 
take care of them. Just walk away. Take the deal!" I heard that voice again and again. No 



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book ever written on Amway had ever made it to serious publication. Was I a fool to 
believe that I could make a difference? Just take the money. 

That was precisely what nearly every person we knew and loved advised us to do. 
Just walk away. We could not. I would not! If someone had stood up years ago and 
exposed these problems, we would have had a different life. The entire situation was a 
slow torture. Amway and our upline were and still are very good at what they do. 

At this point, Amway surpassed the threshold of merely pretending to look the 
other way in reference to its own kingpin distributors' activities. They have become 
apparently willing accomplices to the deception of the tool and seminar business. Second 
generation DeVos and Van Andel family members now manage Amway on a day-to-day 
basis in executive positions. The very same people, who publicly sing the praises of 
Amway, free enterprise, and entrepreneurship, are now beginning to speak at Yager and 
Walters' system seminars. They have chosen to be part of the cultish system that has cut 
a path of personal and financial destruction across the nation and around the world. Their 
messages normally center on capitalism, free enterprise, faith, patriotism and personal 
business ownership. The very system that they are part of, in and of itself, creates a caste 
system whose results far closer resemble socialism or communism. The rich (Amway 
Diamonds, DeVos and VanAndels) get richer and the poor (distributor force) get poorer, 
as more and more "positive" products and "creative tools" drain their resources. Many of 
the fortunes of the super-rich Diamond-level distributors were culled from the financial 
losses of their loving, trusting flock. The more the group lost financially in system 
money, the richer they became. The wealthier they became, the more cars, homes, jets 
and yachts they purchased. The more luxuries they possessed, the more people were 
recruited into Amway, based upon this illusion of their success in the Amway business. 

How much of the Amway Diamonds' income is derived from the system versus 
Amway income? I was afraid it could be as much as 70% or higher. I was way off the 
mark. A powerfully revealing book was released in 1999 entitled Amway Motivational 
Organizations Behind the Smoke and Mirrors by Ruth Carter. It documented what I had 
thought to be true. Its contents were truly shocking. She and her husband had been an 
Amway distributor and worked in the office of a Yager Diamond couple for years. She 
does not name them, but from her description, I immediately recognized them as 
Diamonds we had worked with in the past. After years of working in the Yager 
Diamond's office, she and her husband began to experience the same gut-wrenching 
feelings that I had. Something was wrong, and she could smell it. She discovered many of 
the same problems, but she went one step further. She published the Diamonds' tax return 
figures for 1996. I believe that the publication of these numbers will lead to the 
prosecution of many Diamonds for fraud or statutes involving theft by deception. 

In 1996 their total gross income was $2, 923, 000 . This includes massive sums 
from tool sales, seminars ticket sales, and speaking fees. The gross amount of 

commissions that they made from Amway that year was $130,000! This is only 

4.447% of their income. This is an outrage. It gets worse. If they did not have the tool 
income and maintained the same level of expenses from their Amway business, they 
would lose nearly $250,000 a year! After all the badgering about 'be a man' and 
'succeed' etc., here's an Amway Diamond, allegedly at the pinnacle of success, who 
might lose $20,000 a month if he only had Amway money. That's all the bulk of his 
distributors have to live on. This is pathetic. We were sold on the critical nature of the 



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system and its success rate, when it was close to 100% of the Diamond's income. Zack 
may have a higher percentage than this one. A recent Direct of his who dropped out told 
me Zack has a secret taping facility in his warehouse and makes his own tapes, cutting 
out Dexter. 



"I didn't get my kit until I was twenty four years old. I went 
full time in the business when I was twenty eight... ain't had 
one dime of income other than Amway income ...and it's a 
pretty good deal" 

Amway Diamond Brett Deimler 



This information makes me angry beyond description. I had been recruited and 
used to suck millions of dollars out of good people. This money was then apparently, in 
turn, used to feed a phony "Amway" Diamond lifestyle. I had submitted myself to the 
authority of people that I should never have trusted. 



The Man in My Mirror 

"He's the greatest person I've ever known. When I look at 
him', you said 'I see JESUS. I want you to listen to him. I 
know that you'll see Jesus too." 

' -Mike Wallace Quoting Birdie Yager 

Although for years I had been programmed to be totally submissive to my upline, 
I now went to the other extreme and developed deep rooted psychological problems in 
dealing with authority figures, who appeared to me to be even slightly out of line. This 
became quite evident when our son Josh went to summer camp. I had planned on being a 
counselor but now was working feverishly just to find a job. I visited the camp about four 
days into the week and was to stay on as a counselor for the rest of the week. When I 
asked the staff how things were going, they said that things were going well, except Josh 
cried every night, and they had refused to let him call me and told him the telephone was 
broken or having problems. He had hoped I would be there earlier. They had told him 
each day that I may be there the next day when they knew that was not true. Each day 
was another emotional disappointment when I did not arrive as "promised." 

My blood was boiling. I pulled him aside, and he seemed fine. I asked him if he 
was okay, and he broke into tears. He had been a tough, well-adjusted boy, but the stress 
of our situation had taken its toll on him too. He begged me to sleep on the floor by the 
bunk in his cabin or to take him home. He was an emotional wreck. I was on my way to 



' CDE-9915 I'll Race Ya! Audiotape 1998 Internet Services Corporation 

' Birdie Yager, 60 Minutes taping of Free Enterprise Day Seminar, Labor Day weekend 1983 



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talk to his counselor when the camp Dean came up and told me that my presence in his 
cabin was completely unacceptable and against the rules. I shared with him that Josh was 
emotionally shaken and that we would have to go home. He told me to take him and 
leave. The argument escalated to shouting. 

I lost my mind. He was standing between the cabin, where Josh was staying, and 
me. A rage exploded within me to the point where I felt I could tear him to pieces. 
Thankfully, he stepped aside, just as I was about to violently assault him. My response 
might not seem too bizarre until I tell you that the camp Dean was my good friend and 
pastor. Josh collected his things, and we left in a hurry. At that time, I felt justified in my 
response and could not see that I was not emotionally stable. 

I got home and explained the situation to Kathy. We were both confused by my 
reaction. I had always been the peacemaker, the one who could help people to find an 
amicable middle ground. I had helped resolve many personality-type clashes among 
people in our organization, and suddenly, I was ready to assault my own pastor. What had 
happened to me? Who or what had I become? 

I was quickly plummeting into the darkness again. A growing terror was gaining 
momentum within me. I did not know how to kill the beast when it came from within me. 
It was so incredibly frustrating, because I had been getting better for almost five days. I 
had thought I was recovering. We had naively thought we had our freedom when we 
walked away from what we now knew was clearly a cult. We were still as much prisoners 
at that moment as when our upline was manipulating us. 

The straw that broke the camel's back was about to come. Kathy could see that I 
was rapidly headed downhill psychologically again, but I was unaware of it. It was the 
fourth of July at about 10:00 p.m.. Under Kathy's supervision, Josh decided to go out 
back and light off a few small fireworks in our backyard. I went to our front yard with 
our family dog, a playful black Lab. We were in the front yard in the dark when I heard 
something or someone moving rapidly in the woods across the street on our property. 

Nothing should be over there. I dove behind my parked car in our driveway and 
pulled the dog close to silence him. What ever it was, it was coming closer and closer. 
The dog struggled, and I pummeled it with my fist to silence it. I did not want any sound 
to give away our location. The dog struggled more, and I twisted its collar as hard as I 
could to cut off his air supply. I almost killed the dog. My heart was pounding violently. 
The death threat, the questions about the murdered child in Texas, and a dozen different 
scenarios all raced through my mind. What I had feared was finally here. A car came 
down the road and acted as a brief barrier between me and whatever 'it' was! I dragged 
the dog, as I raced around the house to the back yard. I was screaming, "Get in the 
house! Get in the house! Get in the house!" 

Terror stricken, Kathy and the kids ran in the house. I rushed them back to the 
bedroom and turned off all the lights in the house. I slid a shotgun shell into the chamber 
and sat in the dark. We all huddled in our bedroom for quite some time. The kids were 
crying. Kathy was scared. After what seemed like an eternity, Kathy and I ventured out 
into our darkened living room and peered into the woods. They were now silent. Our 
hearts were racing. We both looked for "*7" or "them," but we saw nothing. Part of me 
knew that my reaction might not have been an appropriate response, and part of me knew 
I did the right thing. What had happened to me? I used to hang glide, skydive, rock climb 
and rappel down cliff faces. Now I was terrified of things that went bump in the night? I 



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needed some help. The enemy was both strong and relentless. We were in a daily war for 
survival. This could not really be happening. How long could this go on? How long could 
we go on? I was really at a point where I felt I could not make it through another day. 
Knowing more of the truth did not help. I was losing my will to continue. 

This was another turning point for me. After thinking about the behavior that I 
displayed in front of my wife and children, I realized that I needed some professional 
help. I will never know what kind of creature was racing along the stream that night, but 
it certainly brought me to the conclusion that enough was enough. I needed to make some 
changes. 

As the summer neared an end, we faced another major hurdle. We moved through 
each day with financial burdens beyond definition. We had no money for the Christian 
School our kids knew and loved. For years, we had told them very bad things about how 
evil public schools are, and now we had to prepare all three of them for their first year in 
public school. They all burst into tears and were very fearful. This was a sad and difficult 
situation. What had we taught them? They were going into first, third and fifth grades, 
and they were terror stricken. They began to have nightmares, and I had to sleep with 
Josh to calm him. They, too, had been influenced by the cult-like teachings, and for them, 
starting school was like facing a large, ugly monster. 



Throw Out the Life Preserver 

"About the only limit I like to accept in the Amway business 
is that every person in the world will be involved with it 
someday. And until God says there are people on other 
planets I will accept that limit."* 

- Doug DeVos, Head of Amway North American Operations 

I had kept in touch with Steve Hassan by telephone and email. He would 
occasionally call or send an email to see how Kathy and I were doing. We developed a 
friendship that had great meaning to me. He was one of the few people on earth that 
seemed to understand what had and was happening to Kathy and me. I trusted almost no 
one at this point and had done my homework on him. He is a best-selling author and has 
a Master's degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College. He had been on 
The Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, Dateline, Good Morning America, and many other 
television shows. To be honest, none of that carried much weight with me, as I had just 
succumbed to people who appeared superficially to "have it all together." The reason I 
trusted him was that he had been described as formerly being a cult leader in the 
Unification Church. He must have some idea of what I was going through. Mr. Hassan's 
web site contains a wealth of information about cults. Perhaps, he could help me 
understand what I was going through. 



"Amway Special Guests Speakers D. DeVos, B. Kerkstra" audiotape GDL 96-21 Copyright Internet 
Services Corporation 



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I called Steve Hassan in complete desperation. I explained the 4 l of July 
commando raid and other challenges we were facing. He agreed to see me the following 
week. Kathy and I had a knockdown, drag-em-out argument, as she saw that I was getting 
worse and worse, learning more about Amway, the system, the deception, and the 
cultism. I could not give this up. Exposing Amway and stopping the abuse seemed to be 
my only salvation. Kathy didn't see it the same way and said she would not live like that 
any longer. I think she secretly feared I was going crazy if I thought I needed to see a cult 
exit counselor. It just sounded so far out to her. 

I was beginning to think seeing Steve was my last hope. I had to get my act 
together. I was afraid I would lose my family if I could not become healthy soon. It was a 
help that my father lived a little over an hour from Steve's office, so I was able to stay 
with him and Kelly. They were very kind and understanding. I knew I was a basket case. 
Thank God, they had quit Amway before they were in too deep themselves. 

Late one night, my Dad and I walked out to a patio in his backyard and began to 
talk. I broke down and told him that I had to get better soon. If I didn't, I stood to lose my 
family, and they were my reason for living. I had only seen my father cry once in my life. 
Many years before, during a bloody custody battle, he realized that the strain was 
destroying my sister and me. We had been put in the custody of the state, and he took us 
to a bed and breakfast on his visitation weekend and, crying, told us he had to give up the 
battle for custody because of what it was doing to us. He had had to make the agonizing 
decision to give up his own children for their emotional well-being. To this day, I cannot 
comprehend the sense of loss and grief that must have accompanied that decision. 
Nothing could possibly have prepared me for what was to come. I soon would be forced 
to make the very same gut-wrenching decision to protect the ones that I loved the most. 
With tears in his eyes, he was very direct and told me that I had better get my act together 
and fast, or I would probably lose my wife and children too. 

With tears streaming down his face, he told me why he had coached youth. 
Working with kids helped him feel closer to being a good father and mentor. After that 
disclosure, we were both crying. My dad was giving me good fatherly advice. How could 
I have let someone like Zack replace him for the last nine years? 

I traveled early the next morning to Steve Hassan's office in Boston. I had mixed 
feelings, even some fearful ones. I did not want anyone probing my mind. My palms 
were sweaty, and my heart pounded forcefully as I parked in front of his nondescript 
office in Boston. As I rang the buzzer, panic struck, and I was suddenly as afraid of him 
as the cult that was trying to destroy me. 

He greeted me warmly. His friendly low-key manner helped me get my bearings 
while he showed me around his office, even pointing out pictures of his family and 
friends on his refrigerator. We talked very casually, and he let me lead most of the 
conversation. His mannerisms were non-threatening; he seemed to know instinctively 
what I was feeling emotionally. 

I felt I needed psychological surgery to rewire myself to think and feel the way I 
did before entering Amway. I shared these feelings with him and added that I was 
"fearful of handing him the scalpel." He laughed and told me to "put the scalpel away," 
because there would be no use for it. We spent most of the day discussing the similarities 
of our cult experiences. I was amazed how nearly identical the Moonies were in their 
practices to what Kathy and I had experienced as Amway distributors. Steve and I 



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watched several videos about cults that he had in his office. To my surprise, he then 
produced an old tape of 60 Minutes from the early 1980s that exposed Amway for 
employing many of the same cultic practices that were revealed in his book. 

I was a sponge, and Steve had a gushing fountain of knowledge to share. His 
professionalism and kind manner helped me feel more comfortable. I had not been sure 
what to expect, but I learned many things from him. He explained that there are many 
different types of cults. There are religious, political, financial, self-improvement, UFO, 
and other types as well. There are even churches that have crossed the line and become 
cults. As different as they all are, most have certain defining characteristics that lump 
them into the category of a cult. I was stunned as nearly all the characteristics he 
described were evident in techniques that were used to recruit, control, and manipulate us 
until they almost destroyed us. 



" We are going to control the world influences because of this 
business. " 

- Jeff Yager (son of Dexter and Birdie) 



In a cult, he explained, you are recruited through deception. The word "recruited" 
is vital. Most people do not join cults. They are targeted and recruited by members. As 
Amway distributors, we had been instructed to join any activity where we could meet and 
recruit new distributors. These people thought they were just meeting a nice couple with 
whom they would want to become friends. All the time, we were developing a 
relationship and gathering information to recruit them. 

Few would get involved in a cult or cult activity if made aware of the ultimate 
purpose of their involvement. This was usually handled by having different tiers of 
knowledge available to members. We would not think of giving Dexter' s tapes to new 
distributors, because the messages were "too advanced." Similarly, as an active 'Moonie' 
recruiter, Steve would not have exposed new recruits to high-level teachings of Rev. 
Moon. (Many of his followers believed that he was ten thousand times greater than Jesus 
Christ and the father of all mankind.) We had both used the identical phrase of 'you don't 
feed steak to a baby' to justify not revealing all levels of the teachings of our leaders to 
new recruits. 

A technique called 'love bombing' normally occurs during the recruitment phase 
of cult indoctrination. Members of the group edify the recruits with great sincerity by 
telling them how sharp they are and what potential they have. Notice this is not some 
miscreant dancing in a sheet on the street that lavishes people with praise. You'd know 
to stay away from him. 

A cult member today is more apt to dress in a suit or in good casual clothing. I 
had pictured someone in a cult as a weak-minded person, living in a commune, and 
submitting to a powerful leader. The most successful cult leaders will often be intelligent, 
very likeable, and have charismatic personalities. My paradigm of destructive mind 
control or thought reform was something that must have come from a movie in the 1960s. 
I had pictured Chinese water torture and solitary confinement. 



GDL 97-29 audiotape "Tues. Evening" Tape copyright InterNET Services Corporation 



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"I just wish I could crack your brain open, reach in there and yank 
all the crap the world has put on you and give you a brand- new 
brain with no hurts, no pain and no negative crap. " 

-Amway Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager' 



Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the most important 
factors for effective thought reform (which is a form of brain washing as recruits are 
pulled deeper and deeper into the cult) is that the person being reformed must be 
completely unaware of it. We all have the same knee-jerk reaction and think, "It wouldn't 
happen to me, because I am too smart to let that happen." 

Being recruited into a cult has a honeymoon phase in which most people feel a 
great deal of comfort. It seems that you have found new friends that truly understand and 
appreciate you. Succumbing to a cult is a very, very gradual process. The best way to 
describe it is the frog in the pot analogy. If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it 
will immediately jump out and save itself. The difference between those two temperature 
environments is blatant. However, if a frog is placed in lukewarm water, it feels good. It 
feels comfortable. If the temperature is then increased only one degree every few hours, 
the rising temperate is unnoticed, and eventually the frog will boil to death. This is what 
happens to people who are unknowingly victimized by destructive mind control. Most 
distributors will at first vehemently defend Amway and their upline leaders, as they are in 
the warm water phase and have no idea of what goes on in higher leadership. Most have 
never been fully exposed to what is revealed in this book. 

The belief set, values, and power structure of the cult are slowly woven into the 
indoctrination process. The leaders are treated with tremendous respect and seem to have 
an abundance of knowledge. Steve explained, "Cults seem to work very hard to use the 
credibility of the current celebrities, religious and political leaders of the time." Some are 
recruited and are active members. Many others are just paid large speaking fees to come 
to conferences. They knowingly or unknowingly have their credibility used to give 
validity to the group and increase recruiting. In late 1999, a reporter broke a story that 
seems to be of relevance to this topic: 

Is there a link between George W. Bush and the Rev. Sun Myung 
Moon? Some Bush foes are alleging there is — and are scrambling to prove 
it. The rumblings originated because former president George Bush has 
accepted substantial fees from Moon, the head of the controversial 
Unification Church (whose followers are sometimes called "Moonies") 
and the owner of the conservative Washington Times. Bush has allegedly 
accepted at least $1 million from the Church for various speaking 
engagements (some put the figure closer to $10 million). He has called 
Moon "a man of vision" and has spoken on his behalf in front of groups in 
Washington, Tokyo and Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1996, Bush gave the 
keynote address when Moon launched his publishing venture in Buenos 



Dexter Yager. Charge! Audiotape Stock No. YNMI-12 Copyright Internet Services Corporation 



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Aires. "I want to salute Rev. Moon, who is the founder of The Washington 
Times and also of Tiempos del Mundo," the former president said. He 
lauded the Washington Times for "promoting sanity"— and said that 
Moon's new Argentinean newspaper "is going to do the same thing." 2 

Is Bush aware of all of Moon's activities? Certainly not. I believe he was used, as 
many were in Amway, to unknowingly lend credibility to something they would not have 
intentionally. In the cult portion of my research, I discovered that the Unification 
Church or "Moonies" consider Jerry Falwell to be a good friend of their cause. This was 
a shock to me. Dexter had brought Jerry Falwell in to speak to his high-level leaders at 
Go Diamond. I remember one such meeting very clearly. Mr. Falwell spoke of free 
enterprise and praised Amway and Dexter profusely. We had been taking a lot of flack on 
the Internet, so he had written the letter below that was posted on the web. 

I was motivated to personally write the following article after I 
saw on the Internet some unbelievably slanderous and fallacious criticism 
of a great business enterprise called Amway. I later learned that these 
critics are either actually paid by Amway competitors or are long time 
"sour grapes" enemies of Amway. 

Recently, I was shocked by the reckless comments of certain 
persons who are using the Internet to spread their venom about a direct- 
selling company called Amway. Since I have been personally involved 
with many wonderful "Amway people" through the past 25 years, I was 
energized to rebut their slander. 

The two primary charges made by Amway critics are: (1) Amway 
is a cult and (2) Amway people are worshippers of money and preach a 
"prosperity gospel." Both claims are patently false. 

First, Amway could not be a cult, because Amway is not a 
religion. Amway has no dictatorial cult leaders within its ranks. Amway 
has never proselytized persons away from any faith or church. Amway 
does not damage families or "program" its people. Amway is an exciting 
and successful experiment in free enterprise. Amway gives honest and 
hard working employees in other industries and enterprises an 
opportunity to work for themselves in Amway and provide well for their 
families. 

Second, Amway does not promote greed or lead its people into 
materialism. Instead, Amway promotes the work ethic and provides 
opportunities to earn money and achieve personal goals. Money is not the 
root of all evil. The love of money is what God forbids. There is nothing 
wrong with having things as long as things do not have you. 

Amway, headquartered in Ada, Michigan, is one of the world's 



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largest direct selling companies with over three million independent 
distributors and 14,000 employees. Two committed Christian 
businessmen, Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel, founded Amway in 1959. 
Global retail sales last year exceeded $7 billion in 80 countries, based 
over 450 unique, high quality products in fields of personal care, nutrition 
and wellness, home care, home tech, commercial products and a variety 
of services. 

Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va, where I served 
as pastor for 42 years, has within its membership a large number of 
Amway distributors. They are among our best workers, witnesses and 
givers. I have met Amway people in hundreds of churches across 
America and their pastors speak highly of them. It has been my privilege 
to speak for many Amway gatherings through the years. It is my 
observation that Amway has more dedicated Christians within its ranks, 
per capita than any international company I know about. I have also been 
impressed that significant number of husband/wife teams are involved in 
Amway. Further, as I have listened to the leadership lecturing their 
downline distributors, their messages could easily be delivered on 
national television with a very positive result and little or no criticism 
from any fair-minded person. 

Jeff Yager, son of Amway superstar, Dexter Yager, is a member 
of the Board of Trustees at Liberty University. Dexter, Birdie and the 
entire Yager family are all exemplary Christians and are strongly 
committed to Biblical principles in their families and businesses. Co- 
fonder Rich DeVos has spoken to the student body at Liberty University 
and is admired by Christian leaders worldwide who have had the 
privilege to know him. Rich's son, Dick, Amway's current president, is 
actively involved, along with his entire family, in Calvary Church in 
Grand Rapids, Michigan where my former associate, Dr. Eddie Dobson, 
is pastor. My friends, Bill and Peggy Britt, have helped hundreds of 
thousand of couples to literally change their lives. Likewise, Jim and 
Nancy Dornan, whose son David, is a Liberty student, are positively 
impacting lives around the world, There are thousands just like the 
Yagers, Britts and Dornans. 

In my humble opinion, critics of Amway are either misinformed 
...motivated by funds from Amway's enemies and/or competitors ... or 
persons who are generally critical of others who work hard and succeed 
in life. God bless Amway for the good things they do for the families of 
the world who are willing to dream and work. 3 

This letter, when read carefully, is out of place. It would be almost impossible for 
a layman to know that many facts about Amway. This looks like a PR piece that either 
Dexter's people or Amway wrote. Perhaps they just collaborated with Mr. Falwell on the 



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letter. An outsider could not have all that information at hand. In any event, Jerry Falwell 
very clearly put his stamp of approval on both Dexter Yager and the families that own 
and run Amway. 

Research I did in August of 1999 revealed that the Institute for First Amendment 
Studies, Inc. had made an interesting discovery. The institute reported that, "Significant 
among Amway religious right donors is millionaire Dexter Yager, an Amway products 
distributor. Every month, Yager gives a whopping $100,000 to the Rev. Jerry Falwell's 
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia." 4 As I could not afford to make this kind of 
contribution, Mr. Falwell may never sign a complimentary letter about me to be posted 
on the Internet. Is credibility and character truly for sale in America today? 

What I would soon discover about Mr. Falwell makes the above revelation seem 
inconsequential. Upon digging deeply into cult research, I was able to locate quite a few 
pro-Moonie sites. They take essentially the same conservative political stances that were 
massaged into the system. Strangely enough, on a page entitled books of interest, I found 
a list of books that included many of the same books that distributors are force fed in the 
system. I learned that many of Moon's followers believe that he is the Messiah and the 
father of all mankind. I was so numb at this point, it seemed like no other discovery could 
shock me. 

Once again, I was wrong regarding the depths of degradation indulged in by so- 
called "good people." I came upon a site that shocked me beyond words. Posted on this 
site, and now in my possession, was a picture of Rev. Moon embracing a smiling Jerry 
Falwell. The text implored followers to "Choose God's side and hug Rev. Moon as Rev. 
Falwell does." 5 Now why would a Pastor, who publicly claims to follow Jesus as his 
Savior, be caught on film embracing a wealthy Korean who believes he is the Messiah? 
Was this a fund-raiser for Liberty University? We have a former President of the United 
States and one of our nation's most respected religious leaders allowing their credibility 
to be used to bolster Amway and Unification Church related entities. Amway and it's 
motivational organizations now has the distinguished honor of showing up on cult- 
awareness sites along with groups of concern like Scientology (that Time Magazine 
referred to as "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power") 6 , Heaven's Gate, Jim Jones and 
many others. 

There were a few more things that shocked me during this discussion. Steve 
continued my education by explaining that once the cult had control over a member, they 
may very quickly drain off all the recruit's financial resources. Additionally, almost all of 
the member's time would be dominated by recruitment or fund raising for the 
group — usually to the point of exhaustion. 

Both Steve and I had worked beyond the threshold of exhaustion to the point of 
hallucinating. He asked what helped me to decide to come out of Amway and when I had 
begun to think clearly. I told him about the Leeza show and the gentleman from the 
Heaven's Gate cult. Steve then said, "That's Dick Joslyn ...He's a client of mine. Would 
you like to talk to him?" Steve had counseled Dick after many of his friends had 
committed suicide at the Heaven's Gate compound. 

I called Dick and introduced myself and was totally overcome with thankfulness 
as I explained to him the impact that he had on my life. That was an emotional 
conversation. Steve later explained that, from an insider's perspective, there was no 



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legitimate reason ever to leave a cult. This explains not only why it is so difficult for 
members to leave, but also explains why their character is immediately assassinated. 

The day had sped by, so we made plans to meet the following morning. I was 
exhilarated. I felt an incredible sense of relief to know what had really happened to us. 
For the first time, I began to feel as though I would be able to return from the darkness. I 
felt normal human emotions for the first time in years. 

With new energy and excitement, I went back to my father's house and told him 
and his wife Kelly that I was making tremendous progress. The fact that I was seeing a 
cult exit counselor must have sounded crazy to them, but I had to share this good news. I 
left early the next morning and returned to Steve's office in Boston. I stopped and ate at a 
Kentucky Fried Chicken and savored the food. My senses, which had been completely 
subdued, seemed to be returning. Even the sky seemed a brighter shade of blue. 

At the office, I excitedly told Steve how much better I was feeling. He was very 
calm about it. He asked many questions that did not challenge me but helped me think 
through my current belief set(s). He explained that cults often utilize phobia-building 
techniques to keep their members fearful from ever leaving. We had heard countless 
horror stories during our Amway years about distributors who had left and then gone 
totally downhill. After several years, I had been so thoroughly indoctrinated that I 
believed there was no happiness, success, or any way to fulfill God's call in my life but to 
build the Amway business. Additionally, everything that was pro- Amway was of God 
and anything else was of Satan. Was this type of indoctrination an isolated incident? 
Certainly not and Amway is very much aware of it. In 1985, Amway The Cult of Free 
Enterprise was published. This book revealed that the same techniques and deceptions 
used upon hundreds of thousands of distributors in the 1990s were being utilized as early 
as the 1980s. The book exposed it on a small scale and stated: 

God is Positive, and the Devil is Negative. The Devil wants people 
to have jobs and worry about money and be under financial pressure ... 
people out there are praying the Lord will show them a way out. And you 
know what? This business is the answer to those prayers. 7 

Did Amway knowingly look the other way when a book was published that 
exposed cult techniques being perpetrated upon Amway's own loyal distributor force? 
Were the DeVos and Van Andel families, who owned and managed Amway, aware of 
these abuses? There appears to be little room for doubt. In 1985, Forbes did an article on 
Amway that revealed: 

Last year DeVos and Van Andel brought in William Nicholson, 
former president Gerald Ford's appointments secretary, to reorganize 
Amway. Nicholson says the firm is cleansing the sales force, and there is a 
new approach, downplaying evangelism and cultism and emphasizing real 
sales training instead. 8 

How outrageous! "Downplaying" cultism?!!! Isn't that like downplaying the 
raping of nuns or the murder of children? This is reprehensible! It appears obvious that 
this "downplaying" of known cultism never took place. From a liability standpoint, this 



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could be crushing to Amway, as senior management acknowledged "cultism" in Amway; 
yet the corporation allowed, if not encouraged, the offending distributors to flourish. 

Additionally damaging were the comments of Amway-insider Don Gregory in the 
same article. Don Gregory was Van Andel's former speechwriter. From his inside 
perspective he stated, "Recruits are brainwashed into spending a fortune on peripherals 
while consuming Amway products." 9 

"Brainwashed" seems to be an accurate description. Why would Amway allow 
this abuse to continue? The answer seems to be quite simple. One of the key cult-like 
teachings of the motivational organizations (that allegedly control most all of Amway 's 
volume) is the hyper consumption of Amway or Amway-marketed products. 

Cult leaders, Steve explained, may use a technique called planned spontaneity. 
The leader would gather information about certain followers and then 'spontaneously' 
have a revelation that applies directly to them. This would make him appear to be 
omnipotent. For a time, we thought that Zack could almost read our minds. In our 
counseling sessions, he knew almost intuitively what struggles we were having. It was 
almost scary. He had a deep penetrating gaze, and it looked as if he were peering into 
your soul at times. Now, I know that he and Kerry communicated by fax, phone, or voice 
mail before our counseling sessions, so he had tons of information from which he would 
reveal 'insights' as we counseled. We had duplicated this perfectly and had used the same 
information gathering techniques on some of our leaders, thinking it was helping us to 
better counsel them. It gave them the mistaken opinion that we had tremendous wisdom 
for our young age. Realizing what I have done intensifies the shame and guilt I carry. 

One key point that Steve covered with me is why people in cults are regarded as 
fools or weak minded, and why so many leave in silence. He refers to it as the "illusion of 
choice." In your mind, in the recruitment and indoctrination phase, you feel as if you are 
making certain choices that will enhance your life. In reality, your paradigms or belief 
sets have been slowly changed, and you are being led down a specific, pre-ordained path. 
Distributors have the illusion that they are choosing to get on the programs of tape-of-the- 
week and book-and-video-of-the-month. They have the illusion that they are choosing to 
spend a great deal of money and weekends away from their children to invest in 
themselves. From the moment they were sponsored, their environment and social 
contacts within the group were shaped and molded to make these "choices" their only 
option if they truly loved their family and wanted to succeed. When distributors leave the 
group emotionally and financially broken, they are cast off as weak and become "losers" 
to those who had allegedly loved them like family when they were buying tapes. 

My meeting with Steve was going very well until he asked me one final question. 
Essentially, he told me that I had both my freedom and my life back and asked what I had 
to look forward to. With little or no expression, I told him, "nothing." I knew it was 
illogical, but that was how I felt. He explained that my perception was normal and that 
former cult members had to go through a grieving process for several reasons. 

First, they feel as if they have lost their God-ordained, great commission in life. 
They seem to feel adrift without this great, driving purpose. Second, they often feel 
survivor's guilt, as they think about those they recruited, loved, and left behind. 
Everything in terms of your thoughts is black and white in a cult. Your life is pre- 
ordained. There are few real decisions to make. To suddenly become free and stare into 
the vast expanse of your future is not yet liberating. It is like staring into a deep, 



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bottomless chasm. He warned me that it might be at least a full year before I would begin 
to feel like myself. I naively thought that he did not know how great I was really feeling 
at that moment. 

"I just want to crawl inside your brain and clean it up... " 

- Amway Crown Ambassador Birdie Yager' 



"Sponsors have seen some distributors change character so 
completely they hardly recognize the "new" person. Not really "new", of 
course. The person is the same. But now his "negative space" has been 
replaced with positive accomplishment and appreciation. For him, it's a 
whole new world. The World of Amway." 10 



Birdie Yager. Ladies Session Saturday Morning Part II, Audiotape Stock No. GDL 96-2 



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Amway Motivational Organizations, Behind the Smoke and Mirrors, Ruth Carter copyright 1999 
2 www. msnbc.com/news/321 138. asp Article by Jeannette Walls 10/13/99 

3 http://www.internet-services.com/secure/company info/free enter.cfm 08/15/99 

4 www.ifas.org/fw/9701/Amway.html 

5 http:/members. tripod.com/~dpcopy/l_apology/apologylb.html 

6 Time May 6, 1991 Cover Story Copyright 1991 

7 Amway The Cult of Free Enterprise, Steve Butterfield Copyright 1985 

8 Forbes, March 25, 1985 "Cleaning Up?" Richard Behar 

9 Forbes, March 25, 1985 "Cleaning Up?" Richard Behar 

10 Amagram, March 1998 "From the Policy Board" p. 4 



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CHAPTER 16 



It's a Small World 
After All 



"I'm going to tell you something, based upon what I've 
learned from my life, the ones of us that accept Christ and we 
carry this banner of Amway and we go with it, we're the 
Christian soldiers marching as to war. We're the anointed. 
Read the 91 st Psalm." 

- Amway Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager ' 



Because of the vast amount of information and contacts I had culled globally, I 
was able to obtain user names and passwords to Bill Britt's, Dexter Yager's and Zack's 
web sites. From one site, I was able to garner access to a schedule of Amway meetings in 
Bill Britt's massive organization. Steve and I went to the Holiday Inn in Dedham, 
Massachusetts to crash a recruitment meeting. I arrived early to scope out their protocol 
for entering the meeting, which was to be held in the Midland room. They had a sign-in 
book at the door, where the distributor paid his fee and signed in his or her guest. 

I rendezvoused with Steve in the parking lot and gave him the details. He met me 
in the foyer area, trying to look like a prospect. For ethical reasons, he signed in using his 
real name. We walked into the lobby, and I registered him as my guest, and then we 
proceeded to the meeting area. Everyone was wearing business suits or dresses — the 
usual Amway required attire. The distributors walked around chatting excitedly; their 
gleaming 1,000-tape smiles pasted on their faces. The meeting was not billed as an 
Amway meeting but as an e-commerce pre-launch for Quixtar. 

The host went to the microphone and brought the room to order. As was the 
custom, he gave the speaker a glowing introduction, and on cue, the distributors stood up 
and cheered wildly. I had become accustomed to speaking at those meetings and felt 
awkward just sitting in the audience. Like clockwork, the host rattled off a few 'good ole 
boy' jokes and set the audience at ease. He then ran through the same song and dance. I 
recognized certain cult techniques, and his talk was loaded with phobia-building 
statements that caused the audience to feel uneasy about the certainty of their financial 
future. He talked for over an hour and mentioned Amway in passing at the very end. As 
scripted, the host took the microphone and reminded everyone of just how fortunate we 



' Dex Tuesday Evening Part II, audiotape Stock No. GDL 96-40 Copyright Internet Services 
Corporation 



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were to have someone who was successful come and teach us how to win in life. The 
whole thing now gave me a new definition for the word pathetic. 

The host then brought up the Direct distributor couples and had them say a few 
well-rehearsed words. The men were essentially the same, and the women, like good 
Ambots, all but one proudly announced that they were full-time mothers. One poor 
woman talked almost ashamedly of her career but let the audience know that it was a 
short-term challenge. 

The one thing that always seemed to amaze me as I did my research was how the 
group ideology and deceptive practices were perfectly duplicated among different groups 
in many countries. The three major groups I identified were Yager, Britt and a group 
called World Wide Dreambuilders, Inc. that was based in Spokane, Washington. I 
obtained a seven page Diamond contract that the World Wide group actually utilized to 
specify speaking fee and tape royalty details. Each of these groups utilized Profiles of 
Success books to show the lavish lifestyles of the "successful" Amway Diamonds. I was 
able to procure examples of each from across the nation. The scripts, positive professions, 
beliefs, and false representations were nearly identical in America, Europe, South 
America, and Australia. 

Steve and I left and compared notes. He loaned me the manuscript of his book, 
Releasing The Bonds, Empowering People to Think for Themselves. In it, I read about 
the strategic interaction approach, which he used to help me break down my own false set 
of beliefs. (This book is a must-read for anyone who would like to help someone who is 
in a cult or trying to come out of a cult.) If you simply challenge people in a cult, they 
have been well conditioned to block out the negative. The book offers a subtle approach 
that slowly allows people to begin to think for themselves. The techniques taught in his 
book literally helped save my life. The information contained in this book is ground 
breaking, and he has created, perhaps, the greatest resource of its kind to assist loved ones 
in reaching a family member who is lost in a cult. I receive no commission from the sale 
of this book nor will I ever accept one. I promote this sound and helpful work, because 
the strategies outlined could save someone else's life. You can read more about it and 
information about cultism in the Amway distributor force at www.freedomofmind.com . 

I left Steve and began my journey home with a sense of elation. At home, I 
gathered the family around and told Josh, Ashley, and McKenzie that the new 'happy 
dad' was home and that we would now have a great life together. All seemed well. Kathy 
remained cautiously optimistic. 

I did very well for two or three days, and then the bottom dropped out with no 
warning. I was flung into a deep, dark void of depression, nightmares, and renewed 
paranoia. How could this happen? I had been getting better. This was not fair. I had told 
my family that everything was all right, and now I was falling apart again. I continued my 
research, as I was unable to stop. There were too many people being harmed. I made 
contact with the following former distributor who agreed to tell her story if she could 
remain anonymous. This is her Amway experience exactly as I received it, 



Dear Friend, 



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My story begins a couple of years ago. My husband and I had been 
married at that time 5 yrs. We were happy and doing well. We'd just had 
our first child 3 months before we were shown the plan. My husband 
immediately loved the idea. I was more skeptical, but figured "What did 
we have to lose?" If I only knew what we could lose, but that will come 
later. So, we signed up. My husband and I started going to open meetings, 
where they taught him how do "show the plan". I was upset that I was 
going to be leaving my 3 mo. old baby at home with a sitter, but I 
understood that you don't bring kids to professional meetings. Then, as all 
avid listeners of the Standing order tapes knows; "you must show the plan 
6 times a week". Well, my husband was determined to make a success out 
of this business, so he began to show the plan almost every night. Still, at 
this point I supported him. I knew if we could only go diamond he'd be 
home with me and our daughter. Well, after showing the plan and showing 
the plan and showing the plan and not signing anyone up; we were advised 
to start getting the standing order tapes (SOT's) and the book of the month 
club. SO, we signed up. Then we were told we needed the go-getter tapes 
and Amvox. SO, once again we signed up. After all, our upline told us, 
"You would have to pay for college... Just think of Amway as college." At 
this point, things were getting expensive for a family of 3 who only made 
12,000 a yr. We believed our upline when he told us we just had to follow 
the "system" and we'd go diamond. He told us that God blessed Job in the 
Bible when Job survived his trials. Our upline said "God wants you to be 
rich". 

"IF you back out now, we are turning our backs on God's 
blessings". So, when they told us it was time to start going to functions in 
order to make our business succeed, we went. We went to Michigan, Ohio, 
North Carolina, Tennessee etc. We were soon spending $250 just to get 
into functions. That is not counting the costs of transportation or food. 

These functions became more and more frequent. Soon, we were 
spending so much each month, we could not pay our house payment. This 
is when I wanted to back down. I wanted to stay in, but not go to every 
function. This is when I realized how brainwashed my husband was. He 
said, don't worry about the house. I'll buy you a really nice one when I go 
diamond. I could not believe what I was hearing. I didn't want to lose my 
home, but lose it we did. We were forced to move in with my parents to 
survive. Still, he stayed involved. I quit going to functions and opens at 
this point. My husband was concerned about my not going, but his upline 
told him not to worry about how I was feeling.. that I would come around 
when he started making money. MAKING MONEY. ..HA. At this point, 
we were spending a couple hundred a month on Amway and making about 
6 bucks off of bonus checks. We were "being loyal to Amway" and 
purchasing our products from Amway even though they cost more. I was 
willing to keep doing that, I just wanted my husband back. Well, while we 
were living with my family, he was still showing the plan and going to 



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functions. I wanted a father for my child not the money. I asked him to 
quit and he refused. Our breaking point came, while he was on a trip to 
North Carolina. When he left, He had no idea which hotel they would 
place him in. I had no idea where he'd be, but assumed he would call and 
let me know. He didn't. He called after being there 3 days. I was sick with 
worry the whole time. He said he was caught up in the excitement of it all. 
He only called to tell me to write down 150 dollars in the check book for 
tapes that he bought. Plus, he wanted to let me know that they would not 
be home as soon as he thought. .that they were going to see Dexter's house. 
That was it. When he got home I wanted him to move out. He refused 
saying he would not leave his family. Finally, we agreed to get counseling. 
Of course, his upline offered to counsel us which I refused. I wanted a 
professional, which we went to. Well, my story pretty much ends here. We 
have since worked things out. It has been a long road. He still won't get 
out of Amway, but has since then went inactive. We are now renting 
instead of owning. We are repairing our credit. We have since then had 
another child. Our marriage is doing well, but we still don't talk about 
Amway. He still firmly supports it and I am strongly opposed to it. He 
says he would still like to become involved again someday and I beg him 
not to. I pray that once he finishes college and gets his degree and a good 
job, Amway will only be a bad memory. I said it ends here. ..well it never 
ends. I have had our phone number unlisted for fear our uplines will call 
and get him involved again. I won't even give the number to my 
grandparents for fear they will give out the number. You see, you make 
out names lists. ..our upline has those lists. I can't give out our number to 
anyone for fear someone will slip and give our number. I have used my 
parents mailing address for our Amway mailing. I fear our uplines will get 
our address from the company directly. You see, it never ends. I live in 
fear of losing everything again. If we can lose our home once, what's to 
stop it from happening again. I will do anything to prevent my husband 
from becoming involved, because our marriage could not survive Amway 
again. This is why I stay anonymous... because Amway must never find 
me." 



My heart grieves for her and the daily Amway terror she lives in. My faith in God 
has been restored miraculously in this process. I am glad, as this woman's plight drove 
me to my knees in tears. After I read it at 3:00 a.m., I was on the floor of my office crying 
and praying for someone that I do not know. I also prayed for forgiveness, since I was 
also used to seduce people in the motivational cult that could lead others to this level of 
destruction. 

It would not be very long until a good friend named Jim dropped out of the group 
and made contact with me. Jim was a Philadelphia police officer when he was recruited 
to become an Amway distributor in our organization. He had lost his home while proudly 
staying on tape-of- the- week and paying for all the seminars. He had almost assaulted his 
elderly father in front of his children on Easter while defending the Amway business and 



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its virtuous leaders. He wanted me to explain to him how this happened, and I began to 
explain what I knew to be true. Reconnecting with friends like this gave me some 
strength. Jim was not alone, by any means, in suffering large financial losses. 

Many, many business savvy individuals have lost out to Amway or its related 
motivational organizations. The MLMsurvivor.com web site, run by author Ruth Carter, 
made this comment regarding two CPA's public: 

"Claiming business losses of nearly $25,000 annually over eight 
years, Kenneth J. Nissley and Terri C. Connor-Nissley are Amway 
distributors in Indianapolis. They are both Certified Public Accountants 
(CPAs), and both have worked for a number of years for the prestigious 
"Big Five" firm of Price Waterhouse. You would think that their 
professional credibility and business acumen would help them to become 
"successful" in Amway. You would be wrong. Following upline advice, 
instead of accepted business standards and practices, has proven very 
expensive for them. In addition to business losses of more than $187,000 
in eight years, the Nissleys have just been denied three year's worth of tax 
write-offs. 

The Nissley's Amway business losses have been quite significant. 
With about 75 distributors in their group during each of the three years 
(which should put them at or near the Direct Distributor/Platinum level), 
they claimed losses of $27,407 in 1994; $33,539 in 1995; and $27,787 in 
1996. The tax court looked at their profit/loss for each year of their 
Amway involvement. Between 1991 and 1999, the couple lost a total of 
$187,754, or an average of almost $25,000 annually." 



Amway and its motivational groups would like you to believe that these are 
isolated incidents. The sad truth is quite the opposite. Most everyone in our organization 
lost money. The only question is how much. Paradoxically, some of the distributors who 
lost the very most were the ones who were the most loyal to the system of 'success.' 
Some of our Direct distributors are tens of thousands of dollars in debt after getting in 
Amway, buying its often expensive products, and committing completely to a system that 
claims to have a "100%" success rate. We had been sold the belief set that only broke 
people would keep shopping at Walmart, helping Sam Walton get wealthier. 

We could win and win big for our families by shopping from our own business 
and getting paid for it. Distributors were often asked rhetorical questions like, "How long 
would you have to shop a Walmart to save enough to send your kids to college? You're 
just taking care of Sam Walton's kids. Shop from yourself and take care of your kids' 
futures." 

After our exodus from Amway, Kathy and I were shocked when we started 
shopping at Walmart. We found a large savings overall, but in many cases, we could 
purchase similar products there for one-half to one-third of the price we were paying 
through 'our' Amway business for the same type of consumer goods. 

One of our former Silver Direct distributors dropped out. He was immediately 
shut off socially by his upline and treated as a non-person. He didn't do what I had done; 



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he just decided he needed more time with his family and left quietly. His upline Emerald 
actually told him, in what he described as a shrieking phone call, that she thought he was 
being very selfish putting his family above the group. He later shared that he felt paranoid 
and would check and re-check to make certain all the doors and windows of his home 
were locked at night. Eventually, he checked himself into the emergency room with what 
he thought was a heart attack. It was only a panic attack, which is a common symptom of 
cult withdrawal. We had many of the same cult exit symptoms. He advised us that after 
our exodus, he had been told that I was a cocaine user, had a gun and was planning to 
come to a seminar and kill people backstage. Some of my closest friends were there with 
loaded guns, prepared to kill me if necessary. Another distributor that dropped out and 
called and advised that I was referred to as "Judas" at a large public seminar in my 
hometown. Hearing this was like a terrible movie that we could not fast- forward or eject. 



SA-4400 Fact, Fraud, or Fantasy? 

The more I researched, the more obvious it became that Amway was anything but 
the best business opportunity in the world. It may very well be the worst. In my 
experience, over 99% lost money. Many lost tens of thousands of dollars. Amway needed 
a way to satisfactorily conceal this, yet still satisfy the Federal Trade Commission. The 
SA-4400 is a document that was supposed to be shown to all prospects before they could 
become Amway distributors. Distributors had been told that this was a Federal Trade 
Commission Document. It is actually a document that is produced by Amway to show 
potential earnings to prospects. It shows a graphical depiction of how a new recruit 
sponsors six distributors, each of whom sponsor four distributors, each of whom then 
sponsor two more. For example, Amway depicts each distributor as doing 100 PV (Point 
Value), which is a little over $200 in merchandise. 

The 1997 Amway Business Review depicts a distributor at this point making a 
gross income of $25,656* and Amway Sales at a whopping $6.8 2 billion dollars at 
estimated retail. The document also shows the average monthly gross income for "active" 
distributors to be $88. 3 Now let's look at these numbers from the perspective of reality. 
First, we found that this configuration of 6-4-2 is nearly impossible to achieve, let alone 
maintain. Most of our distributors were only able to personally sponsor three or four 
others before they became disillusioned at the pricing of the products or the difficulty in 
sponsoring. Amway openly admits, "only 41% of all distributors of record were found to 
be active." 4 The turnover or dropout rate is incredible. In a single month, we never had 
anyone maintain a 6-4-2 structured business — this in almost a decade in The Business. 
With the dropout rate alarmingly high and about half of the new recruits quitting, we 
needed to sponsor twice as many new people into The Business. Additionally, our 
experience showed that the 100 PV per distributor was greatly inflated in relation to what 
kind of volume distributors actually did. As Directs and Emeralds, we received monthly 
printouts, which showed an average PV per distributor of fewer than 40. 

Given these facts, we needed to sponsor even more people to get the volume near 
the projected goals. Many people were lured into The Business for the $25,656 income. 
"If you just shop from yourself and teach others to do the same, you can make a residual 



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monthly income of over $2,138," was the 'pitch' we received at open meetings and the 
same one that we gave to thousands of other people. 

Amway left out some very important information here. Gross income is your 
income before expenses. Amway has been well aware of the high pressure, mandatory 
purchases of books, tapes, seminar tickets, and other peripherals. These averaged well 
over $200 a month for distributors on the system in our organization. Then there was the 
cost of voice mail, extra gas mileage, dress clothes, accounting, long distance, and flights, 
as well as gifts and meals for your upline. Many distributors were induced to "invest" 
over ten thousand dollars a year in expenses involved in building "their own" Amway 
business. Wait, if the average gross income is $88 a month before expenses, then you 
would be losing a lot of money right from the start, right? No, you just don't understand 
yet. . .it's 'your' business, so you need to invest in yourself. Now you also need to buy all 
your own products from your business. So what if you and your wife used to spend 
twenty dollars a month on vitamins. You may spend $60 or more each month on 
Amway 's brand of vitamins — but they are really good. . . get the picture? 

Also, the figure of $6.8 billion in sales is very misleading, if not deceptive for two 
reasons. First, it is a super-inflated number, because it is "estimated retail." Our 
experience in the North American market was that almost all the goods and services 
moved were purchased and self-consumed by distributors at their 'wholesale' price of 
often 30% less than the published "retail" price. Given that, we now know that this $6.8 
billion may be off by over a billion dollars! Who does their books? Here's where Amway 
may have crossed the line into material misrepresentation. The SA-4400 is a document 
used in recruitment in North America . The super inflated sales number of $6.8 billion is 
a representation of Amway's global sales. In the mid 1990's, it seemed as if the North 
American market stopped growing or died all together. However, these inflated, global 
sales figures were used to induce participation in a market (North America) that appears 
to have been going into a steep nosedive. The numbers were a tightly held secret, 
because Amway is a privately held company in the US. 

Let's get this all straight now... Almost all distributors in the US will find it is 
nearly impossible to build and maintain a business like the model that was shown and 
used to recruit distributors. Amway had to have the internal statistics and be well aware 
of this. They have always had the ability to track everything and do it well. Even if you, 
miraculously, did sponsor six who sponsored four who sponsored two, half would 
outright quit or go inactive. Of those left, only a small handful may do 100 PV. The huge 
(artificially inflated) billion dollar sales machine, you are a part of, may do the majority 
of its volume in foreign markets, while the market you live in may be crashing. 
However, you will not be made aware of that fact. 

You will also not be adequately warned of the massive system expenses and 
destructive tactics of these cultish motivational organizations that have existed with 
Amway's knowledge for two decades. You will not be told of the divorces, bankruptcies, 
and foreclosures that former distributors claim as a result of their involvement with either 
Amway, one of its motivational organizations, or both. You will not be told that some 
distributors will have to seek cult exit counseling upon leaving the organization. You will 
also not be told of the distributors who are having past year's deductions wiped out and 
face a large tax bill after an IRS audit. The theft by deception has been in place for many 
years. Have you heard enough yet? Amway presents information in the SA-4400 that 



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may be factually correct but is morally inaccurate. To use this document to induce 
participation in Amway is the moral equivalent of selling a home to a young couple but 
omitting to advise them that it is fully engulfed in flames. 

Amway seems to be in a downward spiral now, as it prepares to lay off 2,000 
employees. I think this may be attributed to the Internet and the now free exchange of 
information available on it. It was easier to keep problems isolated prior to the World 
Wide Web. With the Internet, I was able to gather information from distributors across 
the US and Canada as well as the rest of the world. It also allowed me the luxury of going 
back in time to document what had been taking place in the Amway business for decades. 

I learned of a man named Bruce Craig. He served as the Assistant Attorney 
General of the state of Wisconsin for 30 years until his retirement in 1997, at which point 
he went into private practice. While acting as the Assistant Attorney General, he 
prosecuted pyramid cases, including what he describes as "extensive litigation" against 
Amway in the early 1980's for income misrepresentations. In the discovery process of 
this litigation, distributors tax returns revealed that the top 1% of Amway distributors in 
his state (Direct distributors) had net annual incomes of "minus $900." The system and 
its related costs have grown dramatically since then. The income figures could actually be 
worse now. 

Why is Bruce Craig a relevant player in this drama? He has submitted a letter to 
Robert Pitofsky, the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, requesting that the 
commission revisit its 1979 decision, declaring that Amway was not an illegal pyramid. 
This decision was based at least in part on the appearance of there were certain safety 
rules in place to protect distributors. These rules, specifically the retail sales rule, seem to 
have been all but completely ignored by Amway. In light of this, Mr. Craig made this 
remark in his petition to the FTC, 

"Since investments in pyramid type offerings have 
resulted in billions of dollars in losses over the years, I 
believe it critical that the Commission, initially, 
determines whether in fact Amway currently enforces its 
rules to the extent that they produce the results the 
Commission anticipated in its decision. " 

Billions of dollars is a significant sum. I had believed that Amway has been used 
as a front company for the motivational organizations to siphon off well over a billion 
dollars from its' loyal distributor force. This seems to confirm that estimation. Through a 
secretive Internet contact, the message is delivered that I am willing to provide insider 
information, documentation and testimony to the Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Craig 
calls my home a few days later, and I tell him what I have in terms of documentation. I 
send off a large federal Express box to Chairman Pitofsky, full of documentation and a 
letter expressing my willingness to testify, despite an active death threat. I receive 
confirmation from Fed-Ex that it is delivered but never hear from Mr. Pitofsky or his 
staff. It's getting harder to tell who the good guys are. 

Senator Rick Santorum came in for us and spoke to a group of thousands of 
Amway distributors in the Hershey Arena just prior to his election. He won the election 



Letter from Bruce A. Craig to FTC Chairman Pitofsky requesting re-opening of Investigation of Amway 



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by only a few percentage points, and we all felt, at the time, that perhaps the Amway vote 
swung the election for our state. He seems like a good, honorable man. Kathy and I had 
spoken with him and his wife back stage, and we had our pictures taken together at a 
photo opportunity. I sent his office an 8 X 10 picture of Kathy and I with him and his 
wife and informed him that, unknowingly, his credibility may have been used to bolster a 
scheme that has drained millions of dollars from his constituents. I provided very detailed 
documentation that is nearly identical to what I sent to the Federal Trade Commission. 
With the picture of him, his wife and Kathy and I, I am certain to get a response, right? 
Like Mr. Pitofsky of the FTC, neither he nor his staff even acknowledged getting the 
Fed-Ex box full of documentation. 

I would later make a discovery that would shock me regarding campaign 
contributions to Rick Santorum. In 1994, Dexter, Birdie and Doyle Yager, who were all 
North Carolina Residents, each gave $1,000 to Rick Santorum's campaign. Why would 
people from North Carolina donate to a Pa politician? Elizabeth DeVos made a 10/24/00 
donation of $ 1 ,000 in the name of The Windquest Group . Why would a Michigan 
resident do this? Here's the most shocking to me. Zack, his brothers, family members 
involved in Amway and his daughter in college made a combined total of 1 8 donations 
to Santorum from 1994 to 1999. Additionally, another one of Zack's Diamonds made 
multiple contributions to Santorum. 

Is there anyone left in American politics, regulation or law enforcement that has 
more character than Amway has money or influence? Is Rick Santorum or his staff 
corrupt? I do not think so but have no way of knowing. But for him or his staff to not 
even acknowledge receiving information, regarding the financial rape of his constituents 
is unconscionable. The fact that the people who seem to be perpetrating this fraud are 
contributors does not look good. The FBI has not yet come back for any of the extensive 
documentation I have nor will they tell me if they are even investigating the case. I 
contact David Sumner, an attorney with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, 
Department of Consumer Affairs. I explain the situation, but as soon as I mention the 
FBI, he backs off. If they are doing anything his office cannot touch it. The Attorney 
General's office will not touch it, because the FBI is involved. I don't think they are 
doing anything. I feel like a man without a country. 

Who will take care of this before I am killed or my evidence is stolen and 
destroyed? I make multiple copies and get the originals of everything off site and out of 
state, after being advised by an attorney that I "could have a house fire" very easily. The 
pressure is mounting, as everyone that knows us wants me to just walk away. My bank is 
calling about my late mortgage payments. This is too evil to let go on. I wish I could walk 
away at times. I was told a distributor had committed suicide but was unable to discover 
whether this was actually true. I felt certain there had been far more than one suicide 
from what I had learned. Our finances continued to erode as Amway and our upline 
seemed to collaboratively starve us out. We were near the breaking point. I was unable to 
walk away from the evil that was destroying me. I wanted to walk away desperately but 
could not. By far, the greatest personal damage I struggled with daily was the financial 
ruin that my family lived in. This created more stress than any other situations. 



www.opensecrets.org 01/25/01 



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I was a tired, nearly broken man. I could not stop but do not know how I could go 
on. Once again, I felt like I was falling apart psychologically. The nightmares were 
becoming more vivid. I felt as if I could not go to sleep one more time to die a hideous 
death in the contorted realm of my dreams. I could not bear to see Kathy or the kids hurt, 
maimed, or killed in yet another nocturnal no- way-out scenario. Last night, I dreamed we 
were living in hiding like Anne Frank. A group of soldiers discovered us and dragged 
Kathy and my beautiful daughters from me and into a home for their own pleasure. I 
exploded into consciousness heart pounding, sweating and panting to the sounds of their 
screams for help. I was again powerless to help them. I lived in a state of agonizing daily 
powerlessness. Days were hell. Nights were hell. It was all getting worse and I was 
falling apart one day at a time. I could not get a professional job, and so I took work that 
paid near the minimum wage. I shoveled tons of corn inside huge drying bins. I was 
willing to do almost anything at that point. It was hard to imagine that I had once had a 
career in the corporate world, a retirement account, rental properties, peace of mind and 
time with my family. All that had changed for me. 

The job shoveling corn in drying bins was strenuous and caused physical 
discomfort, as I breathed large amounts of dust. I would cough up black chunks of this 
dust at the supper table. I came home filthy and always looked forward to a cool shower. 
At night, my eyes fused shut from the large amount of dust that had collected in them 
during the day. On the other hand, it was healthy, as I was learning that there is no shame 
in a J-O-B, no matter what you do to provide for your family. The job involved a good 
deal of solitary time and allowed me to begin to deprogram a little. 

Amway continued what appears to be a campaign to financially destroy anyone 
who dares speak against them. Their external "legal team" begin to seek depositions and 
other information from web site owners Sidney Schwartz, John Hoagland, Dave Midgett 
and Ruth Carter. In some cases, they attempt to obtain access to the entire contents of 
these people's hard drives. In some instances, they are actually granted access to this, and 
mirror image copies are made for Amway's legal team to review. This is terrifying to all 
of us who are now exposed to even greater risk by having Amway know our names and 
contacts. On these hard drives are e-mails from many who have been harmed by their 
participation in Amway, who are seeking help. Sidney had deleted many of these, but 
unknown to him, they are still stored in unused memory on his hard drive, and Amway 
gets them. I begin to use a program that does a high level, government encryption wipe of 
the free space on my hard drive to assure that the information and communications that I 
delete are destroyed. This is like a George Orwell story that we are all trapped in. 

Big brother is powerful, alive and well. One soldier after another falls from the 
financial pressure of mounting legal bills. Sidney Schwartz and Ashley Wilkes are forced 
for financial reasons to remove their web sites from public view. The MLMsurvivor.com 
web site run by Ruth Carter is pummeled but still up. Ruth is subpoenaed, along with the 
contents of her hard drive, by Amway four separate times for lawsuits that she is a non- 
party to. She too had this done by Amway's attorney Norbert Kugele. He too is very good 
at what he does. In every case, Norbert or Amway dropped the request at the last moment 
and never even gets a deposition for her. To fight these legal actions, she and her husband 
run up nearly $15,000 in legal fees. Freedom of speech is any but free. I do not 
understand how they can keep going but admire her courage and commitment to the 
victims of Amway and its motivational organizations. More and more sites are shut 



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down. You have the right to free speech in America, but God help you if you use that 
right to speak against Amway. Now, people searching for any information about Amway 
are bombarded with an enormous number of pro-Amway pages put on the web in an 
apparent effort to combat the publication of this "negative information." My number is 
coming up, as I have been in close contact with some of these people. My name and e- 
mails are on their computers. The pressure is immense. 

I began to drink again at night, on occasion, to drown out the hell of my life and 
the shame I felt for my family's living conditions. I am haunted by the lives of those I 
recruited who are still in the cult. It seemed as if there was no end. Just when it appeared 
we would hit rock bottom, we would fall deeper. Our upline continued to make 
outrageous demands for me to sign the servicing agreement. They knew we had lost our 
medical insurance and were in the process of losing our home. We are fearful that one of 
our children could become very ill or injured and have no coverage. Our torment must 
have brought Amway and our Upline delight, because they would not let up and 
continued to apply more pressure. 

Kathy and I both landed professional jobs at nearly the same time. She worked in 
the front office for a local pediatrician, and I got a job in the marketing department of a 
large, family-owned business. It was agonizing to try and find our place in this now 
foreign world. We did not know how to make basic conversations with people outside of 
the group. Fear gripped us both, like children on the opening day of first grade. 
Financially, it was too little too late to save our home on our incomes. Fighting this 
depression and cult withdrawal was an all-consuming, enormous, daily struggle for me. I 
never knew what my emotions would be from day to day. I would be healthy for three or 
four days straight, and my spirits would be lifted, and then I would crash again. 

I had been the social leader, and Kathy had been a little shy and slower to meet 
people, but now the tables were turned. She had counted on me to handle social situations 
in the past, and now I followed her like a new puppy. I rarely spoke in social settings. We 
would run into people we knew, and I would stand by her side or behind her and not say a 
word. We had new neighbors move in, and I just sat inside and watched them for months. 
The thought of any prolonged conversation or social interaction terrified me. 

The pressure was really on, as we got closer to losing the house. We were amazed 
that they were going to push it this far. Didn't they have any sense of damage control? It 
looked as if they were going to randomly enforce a rule as punishment but not apply the 
same rule to Dexter, Zack, and all their other leaders that had not spoken out against 
fraud and deception in the distributor ranks. As the pressure intensified, I relented and 
agreed to Amway's informal conciliation process but made it clear that it was not a 
request for, nor did I have any interest in, binding arbitration. We needed to get our bonus 
money out of escrow fast if we were to save our home. We were also very much afraid 
one of the children could get hurt, and we did not have any medical insurance. 

The first meeting was scheduled by Dan Bailey of Amway Rules and Conduct, 
and I was later informed that neither Zack nor Kerry could attend. That seemed odd, as I 
had listened to them both talk about having no schedule and "six Saturdays and a 
Sunday" for the last 9 years. The meeting was rescheduled at a later date, and I became 
increasingly more anxious. 

I was told that one person would mediate the conciliation, and he would 
essentially pass judgment on my situation. If I didn't like the results, then I could go into 



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arbitration.... I don't think so. I learned that Crown Direct Jody Victor was to act as 
Judge and Jury. This was incredible. He and Zack had been friends for close to two 
decades. Not only that, they had been paying each other large speaking fees to speak to 
one another's group. Jody would come in to speak for us, and about six months later, a 
tape of the speech was sold as a tape-of-the-week to all the distributors. 

I exposed massive fraud and deception in the tool business from which Zack and 
Jody apparently derived nearly all their Amway related income. They were long-term 
acquaintances, if not good friends, who benefited financially from each other and 
common deceptive business practices. Now Jody was going to sit down and impartially 
mediate a dispute between us? To call this a pathetic farce gives it far more credibility 
than it merited. This was beginning to smell more and more rotten as it aged. It seems 
clear that Amway was rotten to the very core. 

If I hadn't already felt like vomiting, I would have laughed when I later learned 
that Zack served on the legal and ethics committee of the IBOA International 
(Independent Business Owners Association - formerly the Amway Distributors 
Association (ADA) board). It got better... Jody Victor was the Chairman of the 
Committee. 5 What a twisted, contorted perversion of everything on earth that was 
promoted as good and honorable. I cancelled the meeting for reasons that are quite 
evident. 

My job was progressing well, and I led a sales team that was going to Billy 
Graham's Amsterdam 2000 conference for 10,000 third world Evangelists. Just prior to 
the trip, one of my key players left the company, and I took his place for the trip. This 
was the beginning of another strange odyssey. As an Emerald, my name and address had 
been placed upon several mailing lists. One of those lists belonged to Gospel Films. The 
President of Gospel Films is a man named Billy Zeoli. We had heard him speak several 
times. Dexter often brought him to our Emerald clubs. We had been to one such meeting 
where Dexter insisted upon giving Billy a new Cadillac of his choosing. Mr. Zeoli was an 
engaging speaker and normally spoke on topics that related to faith. He did a rousing talk 
at one meeting about what God could do in our lives if we would just be available. His 
message was powerful, and it impacted my life. I trusted him. He almost invariably 
praised both Dexter and Rich DeVos with the highest accolades. Just prior to my trip to 
Amsterdam, I received a mailing from Billy that was very odd. It was sent on Gospel 
Communications International, Inc. stationery and advised that we had an incredible 
opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide. It also said that, "We need 
your gift, as this great opportunity is upon us now. Please respond by sending a check 
today." 6 

This actually was only a short cover letter for another letter, addressed to Kathy 
and me, from Dexter Yager. Dexter' s letter stated that Gospel Communications "has been 
asked to take a major role in Amsterdam 2000. Their responsibility at this conference will 
be to serve, encourage, and empower the Nationals from hundreds of different tribes, 
nations and people groups and to train and supply them with the evangelistic media tools 
they so desperately need." 7 

I did some checking with my contacts at the Graham organization and found that 
Gospel Communications was going simply as a vendor in the exhibitor hall, just the same 
as my company. I looked at our conference map and saw that our booths actually shared a 
common wall. I was sending our team to Amsterdam for a little over $9,000. This 



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included all flights, hotels, meals, telephone, booth charges, and a large amount of 
resource materials that my company made to give away free to encourage these 
evangelists. 

Dexter's letter went on to say, 

"I'm writing you today to ask you to join me in supporting this 
special cause. Only the spirit of God could lead men and women to go to 
one city in the world and begin personal contact with leaders from 185 
countries from every corner of the globe. What a unique opportunity! I'm 
asking you to give all you possibly can and a little more. The cost for GCI 
to minister at Amsterdam is only $185,000, and I know you will join us 
and send in your check or pledge today." 8 

I was sickened by their deception. How could they do this to honest, well- 
meaning people? $185,000? The trip to Amsterdam was uneventful, and I was anxious to 
see what Gospel communications was displaying at this event. They had a much larger 
booth, but after talking to Billy Zeoli's son, Zack, and some of his managers, it seemed 
clear that they were there for one reason... to sell videotapes. Their staff advised me that 
they were not giving out any media resources but had discounted the prices of Christian 
Videos to near $10.00. 

I work for a small, for-profit company that is giving away resources, and Gospel 
Communications is attempting to raise somewhere near $100,000 more than it may need 
to sell videos at a large profit to third world evangelists. God bless America] 

I began to honestly wonder if everyone connected to Amway becomes corrupt. I 
had a friend snap several photos of me with Billy for documentation. As soon as I told 
him that I knew Dexter, he put his arm around me, thanked me for all "our people have 
done" and walked me right out of the booth. It was very strange. 

While at the booth, I picked up several copies of their literature. Gospel 
Communications and its web site www.Gospelcom.net look like a branch office of 
Amway. Rich DeVos is Chairman of the Board. Doug DeVos, his son, is Vice Chairman. 
The rest of the Board includes Dexter and is made up almost exclusively of Amway 
Diamonds. These guys seem to have their hands in many religious and political activities. 
It certainly sheds more light on Amway, its owners, and Diamond leadership. 



The Tables Turned 

I was beginning to feel a little better when the events of the past year finally got to 
Kathy. She had carried the kids, herself, and me through everything. I had been so 
completely absorbed in just surviving each day that I had no comprehension of the hell 
she had lived through. She had watched me time and time again go to the swimming hole 
with a cigar, a beer, and my loaded gun, never knowing if I would return. The toll on her 
had been enormous. 

She succumbed to the darkest depression I had ever seen. It only took about three 
days to totally consume her. Her once radiant eyes were sunken and lifeless. She was 



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exhausted constantly. We both had cried so much that we no longer had tears. We were 
totally spent. There was nothing left inside either of us. At times, she climbed into bed at 
4:00 p.m. in the afternoon and slept the rest of the day and all night. My dear, sweet 
Kathy was dying from the inside out, and there was nothing that I could do. Our upline 
was robbing her of her will to live. She withdrew not only from me, but also from the 
children she loved more than life itself. 

Kathy retreated into a quiet world of darkness, and I was powerless to comfort 
her. There was a point where I was supposed to get tough and pull myself together to be 
the solid rock that she needed. I tried with all my might, but I, too, was falling apart at the 
seams. Kathy was unable to take care of the children when she got home from work and 
needed help. The family-owned company I worked for had nearly a hundred employees 
to worry about, but I met with Robert and Evelyn (the owners), broke down, and told 
him that I was losing my family. I worked for their nephew Thomas. They prayed with 
me, for my family and for Kathy's healing. Not only that, the three of them got together 
and changed all my responsibilities and my work schedule, allowing me to come in and 
leave an hour and a half early, in order to spend time with the kids and to help Kathy. 
They also provided me with books to help attempt to piece our relationship together. I 
had seen the very worst in human nature but from them I saw the best. I was surrounded 
by new friends, who encouraged and uplifted me daily. It helped me greatly, but it did not 
help Kathy. She was alone and falling deeper into the abyss. 

This beast of the darkness had her in its teeth. She was going from bad to worse. 
Watching her further succumb was hell. It was like watching her burn to death and being 
unable to put out the fire. I had always been able to protect her. I felt useless and could do 
nothing, as the cancer of depression ate at her soul. I could put on the game face at work 
and function effectively but fell apart in my car on the way home. I lay awake next to 
Kathy night after night, and there were no words that brought her comfort. I put my hand 
on her back and prayed for her healing night after night, but it did not come. 

I realized that I had brought all of this upon her. I think that if I could go back in 
time to the day we met, I might have avoided Kathy to spare her the living hell that had 
become her life. Being with me was like having hot coals heaped upon her day after day. 
I believed that I was no longer capable of even the most mundane acts as a father or 
husband. 

I began thinking thoughts like, "They will all be better off without me." I could 
not bring any more pain or disappointment into their lives. I prayed for death and that did 
not come. I was the target that needed to be silenced by the powers of Amway. I could no 
longer place my family in the line of fire. Suicide was not an option, so I decided that I 
would have to leave them for their own good and their safety. This was the same terrible 
decision my own father had to make many years ago. Kathy is my soul mate and the 
woman of my dreams. I have never met another person as good or as kind as she is. It 
tore my heart out, as I realized I needed to leave her and the children I love more than life 
itself, for their own good. Now I understood what my father had had to do. 

I left Kathy a letter telling her of my decision and enclosed my wedding band in 
it. My heart was broken as I drove to work. Amway and its related cult had won. They 
had taken or destroyed all that I valued in this life. I was completely destroyed spiritually, 
emotionally and financially. Kathy called me at work and asked me if I really wanted to 
end our relationship. We were both completely numb and emotionless. Of course, I didn't 



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want to do that, but I couldn't stop the insanity in our lives any other way. We spoke like 
robots. We were completely drained and could cry no more. There was not much left 
within either of us, but we did agree to talk after work. 

Thank God, somehow we decided that we could pull through this — together. We 
had no idea how we were going to do that. I wrote Dick DeVos another letter and begged 
him to release our funds to save our home. He did not respond. Our bank told us that they 
had stalled the foreclosure process four months past when they should have taken action, 
because they knew the situation. They felt bad, because we were long-time customers and 
had perfect credit ratings before Amway. The account had to be turned over to their 
attorneys for processing. I understood that they had to take that action. The pressure was 
mounting. I did not know how we were going to tell the kids that we were losing the 
home. They had grown up in that house. They had played with their dog in this yard. I 
could not bear the thought of telling them. 

On the way home from work one day, I began to experience pressure on the left 
side of my chest. I ignored it at first, because it seemed minor. We were sitting down for 
dinner when the pains became sharp and frequent. I knew what was happening to me. 
There was a very real pain coursing through my chest. I was sure I must have been 
having a heart attack. I pulled Kathy out of the kitchen and told her not to worry, but that 
I was going to the hospital to have it checked out. When I arrived at the hospital 
emergency room, I was soon strapped to all kinds of machines and monitors. I did not 
want to die now. I wanted to live. Kathy soon arrived and waited by my bedside. She had 
always been by my side. I loved her so much. She did not deserve this. The pastor (the 
one that I almost attacked) came to be with us, and I felt overwhelmed by the mess our 
lives had become. He was a good man and a true friend. 

After many tests, it turned out that I had pleurisy, which was described to me as 
an infection or irritation of the sac that surrounds the lungs. What a relief, but I knew I 
had to end the stress, before the stress literally killed one or both of us. 

I sent a fax to both Amway and my sponsor, Kerry. I told them that I had digital 
copies made of photographs of myself with Rich DeVos, Dexter Yager, Zack and Molly, 
Oliver North, Robert Schuller, Dave Thomas and others. I told them that if I did not have 
the funds released and in my account by Friday at 4:30 p.m., I would release the 
photographs to the global media with my story. Incredibly, after nearly a year, they 
decided to release the almost $20,000 of ours that had been held hostage. They actually 
wanted to know if they should overnight the check or do a wire transfer. 

We were able to pay the back interest on our mortgages and stop the foreclosure. 
Not all that long ago, we had been out of debt completely, with the exception of a first 
mortgage on our home. We had then gone bankrupt, lost our retirement account, sold our 
investment properties, destroyed our once-perfect credit and had three mortgages, and the 
IRS had a lien on our home. All of this was a result of our Amway experience. 

We had junk cars with high mileage on them. Despite this, we were beginning to 
feel more freedom than we ever had in the group as Emeralds. We went to the movies 
and did activities as a family. This felt rather awkward at first, but it was good to be 
together — even though there was a deep chasm between Kathy and I. She had been 
'harmed' into silence. I tried to keep things at a fairly superficial level, but I was not 
emotionally stable either. My innermost being wanted to fix everything. We were free but 
imprisoned at the same time. We do not know whom we were or what to do with our 



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lives. We had spent nine years sharing false hope with others, and now we were unable to 
enjoy genuine hope in our own relationship. 



A Rose by Any Other Name 

Amway went on what seems to be a corporate mission, which seemed to focus on 
removing any hint of "Amway" from Amway or its distributors. The Amagram magazine 
was a monthly magazine distributors sent to distributors now called The Loop. 
Distributors are now called IBO's (Independent Business Owners). What an incredible 
farce. I have, perhaps a more accurate acronym for IBO. It's... I'm Bending Over. The 
Amway Distributor Association is now the IBOA International. The Amway Mutual fund 
is now the Activa Mutual Fund. Dexter's bi-monthly magazine is no longer called 
Dreambuilders, but it is now called The Business Owner. Amway now seems to have, 
once again, morphed into a new parent company named Alticor. It appears that Amway 
has been broken down into smaller companies called Access Business Group and Pyxis 
Innovations. Amway, Quixtar, Access Business Group and Pyxis Innovations are now 
subsidiaries of Alticor. I believe that Amway ownership is expecting a huge class action 
suit or Federal interdiction against Amway and is skelatonizing its assets as an umbrella 
of protection. There has been a huge push for Quixtar and its new "IBO's." The sad part 
of it is that many people, earnestly seeking opportunity, think they actually have all the 
rights of a business owner when they become Quixtar Independent Business Owners. 
They may want to check with the IRS and see what could happen to them in the event of 
an audit. They also should know that they could work for a decade or longer and have 
their income shut off by a company that was described to them as merely a supplier. 
Nothing much has changed. The Quixtar business is the bait by which the masses still are 
being lured into the exact same motivational organizations that seem to clearly be 
destructive cults. 

To truly find what is at the heart of a business, one needs to be around its leaders. 
I am about to share some statements that have never before been made public. They are 
statements from a transcript of an Emerald meeting that Kathy and I attended. It was on a 
Tuesday night after a Marathon of non-stop meetings at a "Go Diamond" weekend. 
Nearly all of us attending this meeting were completely exhausted. The setting seemed 
surrealistic. Here we were after midnight in a room with Dexter. Heads bobbed and 
jerked occasionally, as people tried to stay awake. Some were actually drooling in their 
sleep, while others had already collapsed and slept with their heads on their note pads. 
Here are some quotes that may be of interest. 



"Some of you Emeralds need to dream with your group more. 
You've got to stretch their mind and stretch their mind and stretch their 
thinking and stretch their thinking; you've got to take them dreaming and 
take them dreaming, and take them dreaming, so the world doesn't wipe 
them out with their sickness, their stupidity. "Just like Amway but better." 
What an asinine statement. You know, say, "You don't deal more and 
more with it. You're going to hear it over and over." There is nothing as 



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asinine as thinking you can pluck from our tree as your only source of 
existence and ever get as big as us. Say nothing about pass us. You are 
taking our sweet, little, innocent people, trying to rob them from us. We 
didn't rob them from a competitor. We took them out of another lifestyle, 
a different ballgame they were tired of. And we took the thirsty, and we 
brought them fresh, cool, soothing water. Water that they could put to 
their lips to take the heat away. Water that they could pour down their 
throat to quench the thirst. Water that would take the dryness away. And 
you are bringing them muddy water with a stink. Because we go their 
vision so high, you are trying to cloud their eyes." 9 

On people who leave the group Dexter advises: 

'"Whose next?' Where's your brain?" Now, you took a good guy, 
and you turned him into trash. I look at that when somebody takes our 
people away. When they are gone, they ain't nothing but prostitutes. 
They ain't going to make it there. They ain't going to make it no where. 
They're gone. They're lost. It's not my loss; it's theirs. 

But see, my biggest problem is, when we have them, when they are 
going, and they are being taken away by the latest, "just like Amway, but 
better." My biggest concern is you. I don't want to lose you. One person 
ain't going to make that much different. I understand you. We struggle; I 
struggle; that's part of us feeling the hurt of God. One person does mean 
that much. Their life does count. But we're not in control. They have 
freedom of choice. God gave it to us all. Freedom to be stupid. They got 
the right to be wrong. And over and over, they got the right to be wrong. 
Somewhere, we have each got to learn that we are responsible for us, our 
family and our group. That this is our one chance, our one chance to be an 
Abraham Lincoln or George Washington or Thomas Jefferson of our time. 
The unheralded hero that may never have a statute put up to, ever. But if 
ever, we'll be dead and gone before they realize what we meant. It feels 
so great to be worthy. You know, you are going to have to learn to be 
quick thinkers. You are going to have to tell people, you are going to have 
things like Internet coming out all the time with all this crap. You are 
going to ...like one guy is loading all this crap on Internet. He's got such a 
hate for Amway and somebody that he wants to destroy it. God does not 
deal with hate in his heart. So that's not God's man. If you are a 
Christian, you better understand that. And I'll tell you something, when 
push comes to shove, and I get with that guy and that situation, I can look 
him right in the eye and until you can look people in the eye and say, 

"We are right. We love you. You have the right to be stupid; it's 
your life. I'll hurt over you, cause I love you. But you are making a 
decision that will affect you and the future generations of your family. If 
you leave, you won't be back. My door won't be open. Probably your 
pride will keep you away, or they'll have spent all your energy. You can't 



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afford this decision, but if you do it, I love ya. But if you do it, you're no 
longer welcome here. I don't let the disloyal come here. If you are going 
to be a competitor, you have told me, you are the materialistic one. I 
brought you into my family, and now you would like to come rape my 
family? I'm not going to let it happen. Remember, you are walking away 
from all your friends. If they've conned you that well, and I can't 
convince you otherwise, you won't ever have to say you're sorry, the 
world will know it. I'm not "sorry" in the apology way; you leave, you're 
just sorry. I think you're more guy than that. I know you're more man 
than that, don't prove me wrong." 

I'm not going to beat him up; I'm going to tear his stupid heart 

out!!! You are not going to destroy yourself. I don't let you commit 
suicide easy. But if you are going to be damned, it's your choice. I'll love 
you in your sickness. But when you walk out that door, it's over." "Every 
now and then, I have to make a decision in this business, I have loved you, 
and I have loved you, and I have loved you when nobody else could love 
you. But, if you leave, I'll have more time for somebody else." It is 
amazing when I get people split from me, and they do this, and they do 
that. See, at one point let me tell ya, and I am telling this for your own 
worth, for your own knowledge, the Bible says Jesus came to separate the 
chaff from the wheat." 10 



He's Really a good guy ... 

"The leadership in this organization from the Yager 
family on throughout are committed... doing every thing 
that they can do to make sure you have every opportunity to 
succeed. An equal opportunity for everyone in this room 
regardless of what your background may be." 

- Doug DeVos, Head of Amway North American Operations 

One minute Dexter was "feeling the hurt of God," but in the next minute, he said 
he would "tear your stupid heart out" if you left. He won't let you commit suicide 
easily, and he'll "love you in your sickness." I cannot believe we sat through this with 
hundreds of intelligent people. No wonder we were terrified to leave. Telling distributors 
who would leave that they will be damned, are "sorry" or will have their hearts torn out 
are tactics described by cult experts as phobia building techniques. 

When Dexter or Birdie talked, they would often reflect on direct conversations 
with God and shared this in a role-playing format. When they talked to God on stage or 



"Amway Special Guests Speakers D. DeVos, B. Kerkstra" audiotape GDL 
96-21 Copyright InterNet Service Corporation 



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reenacted a conversation, it normally went like the rest of the transcript below from the 
same night. 

"Why should I sacrifice and give up what I have committed my life 
to? If you are going to be the Australian leader, you are going to have to 
travel to America to learn. I am not going to Australia. 'Okay? I am not 
going to China personally. I am not going to Poland personally. Lord, I 
hope I'm not. He does change my mind once in a while. "Oh, God, why 
do I have to?" 

"Cause I told you." 

"I know, I'm going. I ain't gonna like it." 

And he always said, "Yeah, but I'll make you fall